In a noteworthy twist in Kenya’s tech landscape, smartphones have officially taken the lead over feature phones for the first time. The latest statistics from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) reveal a surge in smartphone adoption, reaching a staggering 32.6 million devices in September, a feat attributed in part to enticing credit sales deals.

The allure of credit sales deals on smartphones has played a pivotal role in propelling this surge, marking a shift in consumer behavior. Kenyans, over the span of just nine months, embraced an additional 2.9 million smartphones, surpassing the usage of traditional feature phones. The report indicates that during this period, close to 1.6 million feature phones were abandoned, marking a departure from the gadgets that had long dominated the telecommunications landscape.

The CA’s statistics for July to September 2023 disclose that out of the total 64.67 million mobile phones accessing networks, smartphones accounted for 32.63 million, outpacing feature phones at 32.04 million. This shift is not merely numerical; it mirrors the growing penetration of the internet and the evolving preferences of Kenyan consumers.

Feature phones, while cost-effective and adept at basic functions like calls, SMS, and music, lack the advanced capabilities of smartphones. Yet, some consumers opt for a dual approach, retaining both feature phones and smartphones to meet diverse personal and business needs.

The data further illustrates a notable trend between June and September, where Kenyans acquired an impressive 1.8 million more smartphones while bidding farewell to nearly 100,000 feature phones. In less than two years, Kenya has witnessed a remarkable surge of 23 percent, equivalent to 6.1 million smartphones, signifying a dynamic digital transformation.

The total number of mobile devices in use has surged by 5.09 million (7.9 percent) since December 2021, highlighting the rapid pace of technological integration. Remarkably, during this period, the number of smartphones eclipsed feature phones, which experienced a decline from 33.6 million in December 2021 to 32 million by September 2023.

This digital revolution is not a happenstance but rather a result of strategic efforts by phone manufacturers and mobile network operators. Through innovative credit sales initiatives, they have facilitated access to smartphones, particularly targeting the low-income segment, enabling gradual payments and making these devices more accessible.

As Kenya embraces this digital metamorphosis, the increasing reliance on smartphones signals not only a change in communication devices but also a broader shift towards a more connected, technologically savvy society. The journey towards a digital future is underway, and Kenya is at the forefront, steering into uncharted territories of connectivity and technological progress.