Fairly-used gadgets demand rising amid inflation

A growing number of Nigerians are resorting to fairly-used tech gadgets to survive persistent inflation, which has led to a surge in the prices of new products.

A fairly-used tech gadget, according to experts, is an electronic device that has been carefully used by a first party and left in good condition before putting it up for resale.

BusinessDay visited four mobile gadget markets in Lagos including Otigba Market and Computer Village, both at Ikeja; Lawanson Market at Surulere; and Westminister Market at Mile 2, Apapa Expressway, to speak to consumers. The majority of the consumers go for fairly-used tech gadgets rather than brand-new ones.

For Gerald Ibe, a 38-year-old trader who recently relocated to Lagos in search of greener pasture, getting a brand new laptop of his choice for his business was difficult as his budget could not match the price. He, therefore, settled for a fairly-used laptop.

He said he had a particular brand in mind but the market price made him change his plan.

“Brand new phones are hard to get in Nigeria because of the price. My initial plan was to get a new HP laptop, but getting to the market, the price scared me away. I now have to go for a fairly used one in order to have savings for maintenance after purchase. I bought mine together with that of my wife and the price for both laptops was equivalent to that of a brand-new one that I priced earlier,” Gerald said.

Ernest Chidi, who recently bought a brand-new phone, shared his experience on how he was able to scale through. He said his plan was to buy a fairly used phone before a friend informed him he could still buy a new phone with instalment payments.

“My aim was to buy a fairly used iPhone before someone introduced me to ‘Easy Buy’ where you pay a small amount for a brand-new phone and balance the payment within a period of time. I purchased a Samsung product and deposited N30,000 to finish the payment before six months,” he said.

Alex Makinde, a fairly used tech gadgets retailer at Westminster Market, said, “There is high demand for fairly used gadgets like laptops from customers. There are even some brands that I don’t have here that people have ordered for, which I will bring next week. It is difficult to get a brand-new laptop at the moment because of inflation and importation cost; though it affects the general market, people are buying from us.”

He said aside from inflation, many people see fairly used (Tokunbo) products as authentic rather than brand new ones, which may sometimes be mixed with fake products.

“People are patronising UK-used gadgets more because of the hike in prices of new gadgets. I remember buying my laptop for N190,000 two years ago, now the current price of the laptop is almost N400,000, which is almost triple the previous amount,” Bola Ayodeji, an IT service expert, said.

Read also: Lagos tech gadgets dealers lament low sales

Felix Humphrey, who sells electronics at Computer Village, Ikeja, attributed the increase in the demand for fairly used gadgets to the rising prices of new products.

“We are selling more fairly-used ones and people are placing orders too, compared to brand-new ones. We sell both new gadgets but our market is dominated by fairly-used. If you get a fairly used laptop for N100,000 then know that brand new will be approximately N300,000 because of high inflation which affected prices of products and other commodities,” he said.

Clinton Loveday, an IT student who manages an electronic shop at Otigba market, shares his experience over the last six months.

“The increase in price of new products even attracted more customers to us because the market has been moving since I came here. The truth is that the economy is largely affected but I will say it didn’t affect us much because people will surely change their phones. When they can’t afford new ones, they will definitely run to us. I have way-billed UK-used smartphones to about eight of my friends in the South-East in the past two weeks,” he said.

Henry Onwobolu, another retailer at Otigba Market, said inflation had affected the prices of his products as he now pays almost double of a normal supply charge.

“Generally, sales dropped everywhere but compared to the extent things have gone in Nigeria, I will tell you that I am making sales. Some people prefer going for UK-used products because they are durable and more original. People are demanding our products and we are selling,” he said.

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