Transsion Updates: H1 2021

Smartphone Sales and Profitability Double Boost as Company Diversification Efforts Gather Pace

September 30, 2021

Transsion Holdings continued to see strong performance in H1 2021 with revenues and net income growing 65% and 59% YoY respectively, driven primarily by surging handset sales in its home market Africa, as well as successful ventures in other developing countries. According to Counterpoint Research’s Market Monitor service, cumulative Transsion smartphone shipments in H1 2021 reached a record high of 37.3 million, taking the company’s share in the global smartphone market to 5.5% from 3.5% a year ago.

Transsion Brands Quarterly Smartphone Shipments, 2019-2021
Counterpoint Research – Market Monitor Service

Looking at Transsion’s overall product strategy, we can see that it is shifting materially from feature phones to smartphones in response to market changes. In 2019, 33% of the company’s handsets were smartphones, but in the latest quarter this number has gone up to 47%. In the company’s latest earnings release, smartphones account for over 80% of its revenues, a record high.

Transsion Revenue Split by Business Type
Transsion financial report, Counterpoint Research analysis

Commenting on Transsion’s commitment to smartphones, Senior Analyst Yang Wang said, “Transsion is rapidly transforming and upgrading its product portfolio. The move is driven by the accelerating demand for internet-capable phones in its home market Africa, where the COVID-19 pandemic showed the value of the internet to consumers who were forced to stay at home. The region’s internet and mobile money services are also gathering steam along with a significant drop in data costs. While all OEMs stand to benefit from the consumer’s shift, Transsion gains the most as its distribution and pricing strategies are most ready to tap into new consumer clusters, which previously did not consider buying a smartphone.”

Transsion Smartphone Shipment Share by Region
Counterpoint Research – Market Monitor Service

Apart from product transformation, the other significant shift in the Transsion strategy is geographical diversification. Compared to two years ago, Transsion’s share of smartphone shipments in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region has dropped from 83% to 68%. On the other hand, shipments have increased rapidly in APAC countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Thailand. India specifically has been the growth engine for Transsion, with shipments almost reaching 20% of the company’s global total in H2 2020, before the Delta wave halted the progress.

Commenting on Transsion’s moves in India, Senior Analyst Prachir Singh said, “Transsion brands, especially TECNO, have been focusing on a hybrid channel strategy in India, with an increased emphasis on online channels. This was executed with great success as Transsion brands contributed to 7% of the online smartphone market in India in Q2 2021, compared to 2% in Q2 2020. TECNO’s online smartphone shipments grew almost 20x YoY in Q2 2021, while itel increased its online share by launching online exclusive models like the Vision 1 Pro and A47. From a product positioning point of view, Transsion brands have been focusing on providing specs like higher display size, multi-camera capability and bigger battery, which are the top spec preferences for consumers in the sub-$150 segment.”

Going forward, Transsion’s fundamentals are expected to remain solid, as it continues to hold enormous clout in its Africa home market. Smartphone penetration will gradually expand, with new users continuing to be brought into the internet world. On the other hand, Chinese brands such as Xiaomi, OPPO and vivo are strengthening their market penetration efforts in certain African markets to address the medium-range segment (<$200). This price band is above Transsion’s typical playing field, so the newcomers are unlikely to affect its market share in the short term. However, we have seen in recent years Transsion’s effort to produce more premium phones and enter the <$200 price band. Therefore, there may be a time in the future when Transsion competes directly with the likes of Xiaomi, OPPO and vivo.