Android is in trouble, the iPhone is taking over, even in Zimbabwe

Leonard Sengere Avatar

Zimbabwe is Android country. That has been the case since the beginning and is not about to change anytime soon. Or is it?

Back in November 2021, we looked at the inroads that iOS is making in Zimbabwe. iOS is the software that runs on iPhones. 

iOS market share had risen to just over 10% that month and looking at the stats, it’s been steadily increasing since then.

In February 2023, iOS reached 11.88% market share. That’s close to a 2% gain in market share in the 15 months since November 2021. It’s not that huge but it’s not insignificant either. 

Android had 86.98% in that same month, still pretty much dominant. This means it has become truly a two-horse race with these two OSes commanding 98.96% combined. 

Windows Mobile which had 4.48% in Feb 2018 is now down to 0.01%. Nokia’s Series 40 is also languishing in the 0.01% range.

Do remember that this market share we are talking about here is arrived at after analysing traffic to over 2 million popular websites. This means if someone is using the internet, they will visit at least one of these sites and their device will be logged. 

Meaning we can be sure that this represents the actual market share that iOS has for phones that connected to the internet. Makes you wonder, who used a Nokia Series 40 phone to browse the web in Feb 2023.

That said, we still miss a number of devices that only connect to WhatsApp. We know that there is a significant number of devices that only ever get WhatsApp bundles and traffic to that and other apps is not captured. 

We don’t have numbers on how many devices only connect to WhatsApp and so could not say just how much this pool affects the market share figure we talked about above. I would imagine if we accounted for those, it would knock iOS market share back into the single digits.

The spikes

One weird little thing about iOS market share is that it seems to spike in January of every year. In January 2023, iOS reached its second-highest-ever market share in Zimbabwe at 15.83%. This is after having reached its highest in Jan 2022 at 15.94%.

Do iPhone users only have money to buy data bundles in January after splurging on their devices? Or are we saying we get an influx of iPhone-toting diasporans visiting in January? Maybe you have an idea as to why we get that spike in January.

Looking at our own Techzim visitor stats, the iPhone has never been more popular. Around 25% of people visiting our site are using iPhones and iPads. We cannot ignore that little fruit company any more.

Life has been pretty chill for the Zimbabwean developer who has not had to tinker with Swift this whole time. The honeymoon is over dear developer, these iPhone-wielding youngins need apps too. 

Android in trouble

Globally, Android is losing ground to iOS. These GenZers (Ama2000) do not care for Android at all. Apple has dominated the US market but is now making inroads globally.

The scariest stat is that for people aged 18-29, Apple now has a 52% market share in South Korea, Samsung’s home turf. Samsung only has 44% of that demographic in their own country. 

In Apple’s home ground, they command a 60% share for the same age group. What’s crazy is that if we look at just the teenagers, Apple has a ridiculous 87% market share.

Apple only really competes in the premium smartphone market and is dominant there. Apple has 76% of the worldwide shipment of smartphones priced at $800 and over. Samsung has to settle for 17%. That means these two companies ship 93% of all $800-and-up smartphones. Crazy.

In other countries, as people are moving into the middle class, they are deciding to splurge on iPhones. The over a billion budget conscious Indians are also warming up to the iPhone. It recorded double-digit growth for a third consecutive quarter recently.

In Zimbabwe we are seeing some settle for older, now cheaper iPhones just to get in on the iPhone action.

But that’s the thing, Android only has a market share in the Gen Z demographic because they can’t afford iPhones. If money was not an item, over 90% of them would be rocking an iPhone. That’s a terrible position that Android finds itself in.

As these Android-using Gen-Zers join the workforce and are able to afford it, they will switch OSes. 

They won’t even have to splurge $800 plus for those iPhones either. Smartphones have not really been improving by leaps and bounds and so a 5-year-old iPhone is not only pocket friendly, it is perfectly usable too.

With Apple recycling their design for years, an old one doesn’t even feel out of place. What’s to stop these kids from choosing those?

For those of us that love Android, we are uneasy about its future. Or maybe Android will manage to turn it around and make it so Android is not only good, which it is, but also desirable. 

Also read:

iPhone gaining popularity in Zimbabwe, can’t be ignored anymore

iPhone 14 review – solid little phone that even Android enthusiasts can tolerate/enjoy



What’s your take?

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  1. Jojo

    Of course, after knocking out Huawei using the mighty US government, Apple was left with no real competition.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      No real competition you say? I guess the proof is in the pudding. Samsung can’t really dispute this as they are slowly (not slowly) losing ground. So, it does appear that Huawei was the only real competition.

      1. BlessMe

        Gone are the days when a new phone meant an overhaul in design and an increase in megapixels means nothing now with this computational photography, which was androids selling point, apple has managed to maintain quality and status over the years and this is paying off. I mean even the pixel phones are full of bugs and unreliable half the times.

    2. Tokwe

      We can’t say Huawei was the real competitor of iPhone but we could rather say Huawei and Samsung jointly competed well because here we’re not talking about brands we’re talking about OSes. Some of Huawei users migrated to iOS and that was a subtraction on Android’s side.

  2. Anonymous

    Why even the shift to iOS mostly people who own them can afford a decent living iOS is relatively not for the faint hearted pocketwise I mean their apps are demanding in terms of data than android android will remain king for the next 5 years or so … personally buying an iPhone is only for feels not versatility granted there are some apps that are more better when running iOS but not many people know that …and another increase can also be accredited to the refurbished ones circulating the market they are cheaper than the brand new ones but zimbos can’t tell only a few out of select many

    1. Leonard Sengere

      In terms of outright device purchases, the iPhone is not as inaccessible as it may seem. These older models can be had for the price of budget Androids. On data savings on Android, I agree, you can squeeze more from your bundles on Android.
      It’s really a desire thing. iOS has its limitations and drawbacks but the kids want it. So, they will get it. Refurbished or not, they don’t care, they get to say they have an iPhone.

      1. Dee 1

        Good arguments. Huawei was causing stiff competition for iPhone. Please do not that Samsung is now ditching the budget friendly devices as they are not making much profit. Word in the tech from they will offer the 800$ phones plus two mid range phones i.e the Fan edition and 1 a series plus their flip phones, so competition will come this time around for iphone.

  3. D.K.

    I would like to assume that most of the numbers beefing up iPhone presence in Zimbabwe are from handed down and refurbished units. Due to the single manufacturer and the high quality of materials used and the manufacturing processes these phones can live two or more lifetimes. Most of the many manufacturers of Android phones make sub- standard units which make them not go beyond one user.

    1. D.K.

      I hope the author did not take anything which starts with a small “i” into iPhone’s side!

      1. Leonard Sengere

        🤣🤣 No, those ‘i’ phones were not numbered among the iPhones.

    2. D.K.

      I would like to assume that most of the numbers beefing up iPhone presence in Zimbabwe are from handed down and refurbished units. Due to the single manufacturer and the high quality of materials used and the manufacturing processes these phones can live two or more lifetimes. Most of the many manufacturers of Android phones make sub- standard units which make them not go beyond one user.

    3. Leonard Sengere

      I think that’s the case too. Older, refurbished models are what’s moving the needle. You don’t find many refurbished itels on the market and there really is no demand for them.

  4. Mr Nope

    The report that gives us this view is in terms of percentages and no actual numbers are available. So this article’s interpretation can be quite inaccurate if what actually happened is the web activities on Android devices fail sharply while the web activities on IOS devices increased. The reality on the ground does not support the interpretation that IOS is becoming popular. Zimbabweans are becoming poorer no richer. They have to balance essentials vs luxuries. By far IOS devices are a luxury for ordinary Zimbabweans. I’m sure this site if it subscribe for site visit analytics with show a different trend. The buying power of the USD has been shrinking every month rent etc are rising steadily each month in USD terms while disposable income in USD does not keep up with the shrinking buying power of the USD. I’m sure sites that are representative of the actual distribution of various devices would have analytics that refute the interpretation of this article.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      I agree that it could be that Android web activities fell, it definitely is possible. However, we are looking at a steady rise for iOS over 5 years, going from 1.52% in Feb 2018 to 11.88% in 2023. It is unlikely that iOS users have just been ramping up their web activities, there was also a significant injection of new devices too.
      Then, looking at Android, it too grew from 76.81% in Feb 2018 to 86.98% in 2023. The likes of Windows, Series 40and other Unknown OSes gave their portion to iOS and Android.
      So yes, it is possible that some of this apparent iOS gain is from iOS users ramping up their web activities, however, it is not the only explanation. And to be frank, it’s had the lower impact.
      About iPhones being expensive. Yes, brand new iPhones are expensive but that’s not the only way to acquire iPhones. Visit any stall in town and you will find that the older models are in demand and these can be had for budget Android money. Yes, Zimbabweans are getting poorer but if they are still buying itels and TECNOs, like they are, they can afford old iPhones.

  5. Swivens

    What keeps other users on Android is the ability to use hacked apps and play nodded games like me 😂😂

    1. Leonard Sengere

      That was me just a few years ago. Nolonger the case but still enjoy Android although I’ve been enjoying using an iPhone on the side for the past 4 months.

      1. Zamazama

        Whicj iPhone model are you using?

        1. Leonard Sengere

          The vanilla iPhone 14 without a dynamic island.

  6. Dooby

    I like this paragraph because of how true it is:
    “But that’s the thing, Android only has a market share in the Gen Z demographic because they can’t afford iPhones. If money was not an item, over 90% of them would be rocking an iPhone. That’s a terrible position that Android finds itself in.”

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Exactly. That’s what’s scary, the mid to distant future. Millenials and older generations love Android, mainly because of the multiple choices at different price points it provides. But these younger kids want iPhones and Android might lose the seemingly unassailable lead it has. If Nokia and Blackberry could fall, there’s nothing special about Android.

  7. Percy Tendayi Kagoro

    Is this report on web users only. I would like to think more Itels and Technos are sold per month than iPhones sold in a year. Like you said you ignored the WhatsApp pose

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Yes, web users only. We cannot know just how many Itels only connect to WhatsApp. Should be a significant number in my opinion. But if you’re thinking about having a web presence or even an app, this data is relevant, those that only use WhatsApp have no bearing on your decisions.

  8. Tendai Bure

    Iphone is overrated. I’ve had the privilege of using both Samsung and iPhone at the same time. IPhone is too Ltd.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      I somewhat agree. The iPhone is both overrated and underrated. It’s not that much different from Android to be honest. Those limitations can be annoying but once you find a solution for them, you won’t complain as much. You’ll forget that it’s easier on Android.

  9. 👽

    In terms of user friendly andoid is better than ios…Iphones are more of a status symbol to these (Gen-z), a mating symbol for these $=× hungry younglings, just as an amg(Benz)is to e middle aged man..if you have it you have money and we all know kuti mari inoshedza anaGamu kwete zvekutamba
    On the nokia 40 series i myt have a hand in it as well🙊🙊 i have a nokia 7610 and i love it to bits so much that when i couldn’t find a new battery for it i went and had it ghetto engineered and it now has a vivo battery in occasionally when the network is on 2g which it usually is becoz of zesa,i use my nokia 7610 to browse e net chinochengeta moto..also mune manude andakatumirwa nehighxul gf yangu achirimo imomo ende madam ahwaibate bate 🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️ sorry for the overshare

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Mune chii muNokia umo 🤣🤣🤣? Don’t apologise for the overshare, you made my day. Madam vachazvibata havo. But about using the Nokia when MNOs are giving you 2G, that sounds like a plan. Had not thought about that.
      On the user-friendliness of Android, I somewhat agree. The major factor is that we are all so used to Android that it seems more intuitive. In historical Apple strongholds, they claim iOS is user-friendly and Android confusing.

  10. Ruf

    Could it be that only iPhone users can afford the internet
    With incomes dropping the stats are skewed

    1. Leonard Sengere

      I don’t think that’s it. I don’t have data to prove this but many also seem to have noticed that older, refurbished iPhones have flooded the market and are the ones responsible for the iOS gains. The people buying these iPhones are not necessarily sitting on cash to splurge on data, they are just like the other kids buying Galaxy A series phones.

  11. chitiz agrawal

    Seamless Mobile Customisation
    We would also help you in taking your storefronts to mobile devices to improve flexibility and increasing your reach. As the majority of online customers today make browse and make purchases from their mobile phones, such customization is sure to bring in fruitful results.

  12. Kabanana

    Ini hangu I bought a iPhone simply because I didn’t wanna share charger with other people including yours truly Handidi zvekunsharer too many phones wept in my hands coz I shared a charger never more never more no one asks me for a charger these days dai ma charger ainema password ndaitenga sorry I’m selfish but chargers must not be shared if u went thru the trouble I went thru you wouldn’t wanna charge either … don’t ask me if mine is not available I buy many never short of them plus mvirus dumb comment I know but …. If u use an iPhone customization is jus way better than android it’s put in such an appealing way really nice if u travel a lot you’ll never go wrong… android can be customizable through and through but it lacks a few tweaks that iPhone users enjoy …

  13. Madzibaba

    Iphone ineka quality kakangosiyana neAndroid