SA's most popular smartphones revealed

Cape Town - BlackBerry may be on the back foot in many parts of the world, but in SA, the brand continues to hold its own, despite intense marketing from rivals.

According to mobile marketplace Phonefinder, despite Samsung being the most popular manufacturer in SA, BlackBerry smartphones outsell the Galaxy S5 and Apple's latest iPhone.

Here are the top selling smartphones according to results on the platform which sees over 100 000 visits per month of people looking to buy smartphones.

Top sellers

1. BlackBerry Z3
2. Samsung Galaxy S5
3. Apple iPhone 6 (16G)
4. BlackBerry 9720
5. Apple iPhone 5 (16GB)

"Our purpose is to be neutral. We are an unbiased platform where visitors can compare deals which fit their pockets and suit their needs," CEO Lance Krom told Fin24.

The BlackBerry brand has a strong presence in South Africa. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

The data from Phonefinder reveals that price may have a significant influence on what smartphone contract people buy. The BlackBerry Z3 is offered at around R200 per month on most networks.

Here are the most popular price ranges that South Africans are willing to pay for smartphones on contract:

1. R239 per month
2. R249 pm
3. R169 pm
4. R499 pm
5. R649 pm

The pricing information matches IDC research into regional trends that found cost to be an important consideration when buying new smartphones.

According to that data, smartphones priced between $100 and $200 saw a surge in market share from 25% to 33% as people abandon feature phones.

The data also revealed that South Africans generally follow global trends on popularity.

Krom said that in the battle between smartphone giants Apple and Samsung, the iPhone 6 held sway until the launch of the Galaxy S6.

"Just before Samsung first launched their new flagship phone onto the market in South Africa, Phonefinder's most popular phone between Samsung and Apple was the iPhone 6. However, as soon as Samsung's new phone was launched, Phonefinder instantly saw a shift in consumer behaviour."

Apple's iPhone 6 is seeing significant growth in Africa. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Here are Phonefinder's South African results of the battle between Samsung and Apple:

Samsung Galaxy S6 Flat 32GB (G920) - 41%
Apple iPhone 6 (16G) - 28%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge 64GB (G925) - 16%
Apple iPhone 6 (64G) - 15%

"The Galaxy S 6 Flat competes head to head with the iPhone 6, however, Samsung's device comes out on top each time (by a fraction according to Phonefinder). The same is true for both manufacturers' alternative devices of the same range," the company said.

But Apple may yet catch up as the iPhone maker experienced healthy growth of 58% for its larger screen iPhone 6 in Africa.

"Apple's growth is primarily due to the incredible success of its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models, which finally placed the vendor in the large screen size segment that had previously been dominated by Samsung," said Nabila Popal, IDC's research manager for handsets and display solutions in the Middle East and Africa.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

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