Multiple data sources show that Nigeria dominates Africa’s smartphone market largely due to population and economic considerations. The International Data Corporation (IDC), a global technology research and consulting firm, reported that Nigeria remained Africa’s largest smartphone market in the second quarter of 2019, followed by South Africa and Egypt.

Data showed that Tecno, Infinix, Itel, Samsung and Huawei remain the top smartphone brands dominating African markets in shipment terms.

The firm’s Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker shows overall African shipments for the quarter totalled 52.2 million units of smartphones, out of which majority ended up in Nigeria’s market.

“Feature phones remain an integral part of the African mobile phone market due to poor network infrastructure across large parts of the continent, particularly in rural areas, and the ease of use of these devices,” says George Mbuthia, a research analyst at IDC. Data from the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) showed that Nigeria currently has about 122m internet users, majority using smartphones.

NCC’s data showed that about 259m mobile lines are connected in Nigeria, out of which about 174m lines are active as at June 2019. A new public opinion poll conducted by NOIPolls revealed that 61 per cent of Nigerians have access to the internet. When applied to Nigeria’s estimated population of 198m by the National Population Commission (NPC), this translates to about 120m Nigerians having access to the internet.

“Nigeria has continued to enjoy technological advancement, especially in the area of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). These ICT advancements have provided Nigerians with fast internet access, with which they engage in social media activities on various internet-enabled devices,” the NOIPolls posited in the report. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria’s apex statistical agency, revealed that Nigeria’s active mobile subscribers hit 162m as at the end of 2018. However, IDC’s Mbuthia believes that Africa’s increasingly tech-savvy younger generation is driving smartphone growth and the adoption of mobile services that are transforming businesses and empowering lives. From NOIPolls demographic data, 70 per cent of young Nigerians aged 18 to 35 years have access to the internet compared to the 56 per cent for those aged between 36 and 60 years and 28 per cent for those aged 61 years and above.

Of the proportion of respondents that claimed to have access to the internet, an overwhelming majority (94 per cent) indicated that they mostly access the internet through their mobile phones. “This wide access to the internet on mobile phones across Nigeria shows that there is a huge market and high demand for smart phones in Nigeria, giving credence to the claim that Nigeria is Africa’s biggest smartphone market,” the NOIPolls stated. Jumia’s Mobile Market Trend shows that over 112m Nigerians had access to the internet in 2018, representing 56 per cent of the population, accounting for an increase of 14.32 per cent year-on-year from 2017. “The availability of lower price point phones still remains the major driver of smartphone penetration,” Jumia stated in its report.

The online store projected that Nigeria is expected to add 28m new mobile subscribers between 2019 and 2025, that is, an average of 7m new mobile subscribers annually. The Jumia report shows that Asian brands have consistently enjoyed massive patronage because of their Africa-specific strategy of introducing lower price point smartphones into the Nigerian market.

For instance, data show that in 2018, Fero, Samsung, Nokia, Infinix and Techno remained the customers’ favourites and the top-selling mobile brands on Jumia. “It is interesting that a one-time king of mobile phone, Nokia is gradually returning to the limelight, riding on its durability claim. Infinix continues to lead the pack, year on year,” the report stated. The online trading platform revealed that the average price of smartphones continues on a downward trajectory, as it dipped to $95 in 2018, from $117 in 2016, and $216 in 2014. “This development is laudable as again, the major driver of this trend is attributed to the influx of Asian brands specifically targeted for the Nigerian market,” Jumia stated. It revealed that Nigeria’s largest commercial city, Lagos, had the highest number of mobile phone orders in 2018, followed by Abuja, Rivers (Port Harcourt), Edo, and Delta.

A report by the Oxford Business Group indicated that Nigeria’s ICT sector remains a critical non-oil growth driver and major contributor to the economy, supported by a sizeable young population and the rapid adoption of mobile internet services. “Dominated by four large mobile operators, the telecoms industry remains on a steady growth trajectory, as rising smartphone penetration and investment in mobile internet networks supports a shift towards data-driven growth models,” the group said.

Francis Arinze Iloani/Daily Trust

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Nigerians in South Africa
Nigerians in South Africa 9744 posts

We are about democracy, human rights, public opinion, political behavior, civil rights and policy aimed at improving the human condition, with a focus on African countries.

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