Nigerians spent an average of N181 billion on buying new handsets in 2012, data available to BusinessDay has shown. The data obtained from GfK Retail and Technology Nigeria, a subsidiary of GfK-Verien, one of the world’s market research companies, indicates that the amount was spent buying 21.5 million handsets,.
The significance of this data is that Nigeria has emerged as a key market for mobile phone makers. This development has made major global phone makers to establish representative offices in the country. Increasingly, phone makers like Samsung, LG, HTC and Blackberry are making significant in roads into the wallets of many Nigerians.
The amount spent on mobile phone handsets can be gleaned from the fact that the average price of a regular phone is about $43 or N6, 751, while that of a smart phone is put at $317 or N49, 769. This is despite the fact that about 60 per cent of Nigerians are estimated to live below $2 per day, which implies a good proportion of Nigerians may be spending as much as their 21 days feeding money to acquire a mobile handset. Low end mobile handsets however dominate the market.
The Gfk data shows that of the total number of handsets sold, smart phones make up just about two to four per cent of new phone sales, implying that on the average Nigerians spent about N42 billion on smart phones and about N139 billion on regular phones in 2012.
For example, of the total number of 1.82 million mobile phones sold in December 2012, only about 80,000 units were smart phones, said Kenneth Doghudje, Managing Director, GfK RT Nigeria Limited, which tracks mobile phone sales across 40 different major cities in Nigeria. The Gfk data shows that an average of 1.8 million phones were sold on a monthly basis in 2012.
The sales figures exclude sales of “refurbished and used handsets also imported into Nigeria”
The report however finds that majority of Nigerians are not loyal to any specific network, as most Nigerians carry more than one phone or carry a dual SIM phone.
“Dual SIM phones made up 58 per cent of all new phones, or two out of every three phones sold in the Nigerian market. This translates to an average of over one million dual SIM handsets sold in the Nigerian market in a year.”
The dominance of the dual SIM phones has been linked to the high incidence of poor network quality which has forced most Nigerians to use more than one network provider for their phone services.
Triple SIM phones are also beginning to make an inroads into the market as well, with the market showing potential for growth of phones with more than one SIM, states the report.
Smart phones carrying dual SIMs have also made an entrance into the Nigerian phone market, though they are less than 18 months into the market.
The report notes that dual SIM phones were first invented by the Chinese, but have recently been adopted by the major phone manufacturers, as they see its wide acceptance in the market.
“These trends are expected to continue in 2013 as most subscribers continue wanting to enjoy excellent service delivery and lower tariffs by using the different networks”
Data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) shows that there has been a continuous increase in the number of connected lines in Nigeria. There were 138 million connected GSM lines in Nigeria as at January 2013 although only 111 million lines were active, according to the NCC. Nigeria’s teledensity is put at 80.85 per cent as at December 2012 with the telecom sector now contributing 5.67 per cent of Nigeria’s economic activity as at 2011.
ANTHONY OSAE-BROWN & PETER OLOWA