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Cost, storage dominate smartphone decision making in Kenya

Kenya , 11 Aug 2020

Foresight Research has found that in addition to cost, RAM and internal storage capacity are top priorities for Kenyans when choosing a smartphone.

The majority of respondents (45%) to its survey conducted between 31 July and 7 August 2020 believe Ksh.10,000 to Ksh.20,000 (between US$100 and US$200) is an ideal price range for a smartphone in the country’s context.

Others (29%) think Ksh.21,000 to Ksh.30,000 is better, while only 14% is willing to pay Ksh.40,000 or more up to Ksh.90,000.

When asked if hypothetically cost wasn't an issue in purchasing power, the participants ranked the Iphone as their top phone at 48%, Samsung at 17% and Blackberry at 10%.

Participants say they use their smartphones primarily for communication, then research and attending classes online - probably as most learning institutions have been closed, for photography, listening and watching music and movies, among others.

As a result, they maintained that it was important for their phones to have sizable internal storage without necessarily needing an external memory slot that would impact on cost.

Foresight Research's findings shadow new research from the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) which finds that the high cost of internet-connected devices in many countries is keeping a lot of people offline.

Web Foundation Research Manager, Teddy Woodhouse, picks out a key barrier brought to light by their study and what the report is likely to change.

“I think a major barrier – and this isn't just in Africa – is that governments don't see devices as part of the problem. We see a big strategy to build new cables and new towers, but what good are these investments when people can't afford the devices to use this infrastructure?” Woodhouse said. “I think governments should start thinking more about devices as part of the whole network to develop to build a digital economy, because these devices are how most of us will interact with the digital economy. That's one key thing I hope this report can change.”

It should be noted that A4AI and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) have launched a new joint annual research initiative to produce and publish mobile and fixed broadband pricing and affordability data, covering 207 countries around the world.

The idea is to inform and support decisions by policymakers, regulators and private sector stakeholders to achieve universal access to affordable broadband.

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