How Nigerian phone dealers get quick access to fairly-used smartphones

For Daniel Okechi, a 37-year-old phone dealer, who sells fairly-used smartphones at Computer Village Ikeja, getting fairly used smartphones has been easy for him and many others in the same business line.

Fairly used smartphones, which many call UK-used phones, have dominated the Nigerian smartphone market over the years and are bought by many because of the discounted prices, according to experts.

Narrating how he usually gets pre-owned smartphones, Okechi said, “For me, I have a cousin residing in the US who makes the purchase easier for me and the same thing is applicable to most of us here in the market. He goes to the Amazon website or EBay and registers. Amazon is a US website and you need US details for you to access it and that’s why we don’t login directly.

“Once he registered on Amazon, he applied the same on EBay where he now looks for sellers that want to sell phones, which is easy to find on the app. Amazon and EBay are like JiJi, where they deal with third-party products (a platform where buyers meet sellers). So after he successfully registered on the platform, he can now sort out for the particular phone I want to buy online and someone that wants to sell will now go into negotiation and discussions with him.”

According to Okechi, after discussions and negotiation, a third-party, known as the picker, will now come in and help process and send to Nigeria, where it will be cleared and get to the stalls.

“So after negotiation, a picker comes in and there are so many companies that run delivery businesses in the US who will now process the pick-up and delivery. What the buyer now does here is to provide him with the details of the person you are transacting with online; they now go there and pay in cash. The pickers will now take it to the shipping company who now ships the phone directly to Nigeria,” he said.

He explained that most of these sellers online are individual sellers who either decide to sell their smartphone for a new one or because of a little fault or crack, and the buyer will now fix the faulty phone and place it for resale at a discounted price.

“Most of them are also selling in bulk as a permanent business and deliver any quantity you need according to your money and negotiations with them, and most of us patronise the bulky sellers because we are also selling to different types of people,” the phone dealer added.

Read also: Fairly-used gadgets demand rising amid inflation

Macdon Ulor, a Nigerian phone dealer, said most foreigners prefer selling their smartphones to Nigerians and Africans residing mostly in the UK and US when they develop any minor fault.

“The cost of fixing a faulty phone abroad, especially in the UK or US, is quite expensive and some prefer selling it out immediately to our Nigerian and African brothers there. That is why if the iPhone 14 is launched today, there is a tendency that you will see it in the Nigerian UK-used market in the next few weeks. They don’t like using faulty products, especially smartphones, and they are aware that our Nigerian brothers have a market where they resale it at a cheaper rate,” he said.

According to Ulor, pre-owned phones are mostly ordered on EBay, and both Amazon and Apple stores mostly deal with brand new phones, especially iPhone products.

Another phone dealer at Computer Village Ikeja who pleaded to remain anonymous said: “There are a lot of sources where our people get access to UK-used smartphones. Most of us do go online, register on EBay or Amazon, then start searching for smartphone sellers. When they get in touch with a seller and reach a certain agreement depending on the products you want, you will now pay and it will get delivered to you.

“Then when most of them have developed such business relationships online, after subsequent transactions, they will now exchange contacts and start personal business through WeChat or Whatsapp or direct message transaction with them, where they don’t need to go through Amazon or Ebay again and the process might be cheaper and faster.”

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