The challenge of trying to find the top selling phones in Nigeria

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Mobility Arena contributor, Hi Beezle, went out to find the top selling phones in Nigeria. Here are his findings.

Why embark on this quest?
Mobility Arena has been a source of mobile related information to a multitude of tech enthusiasts in Nigeria and beyond. It has been a portal which mobile enthusiasts browse through – not just to stay abreast of current trends, or find information – but also a portal to engage with other individuals, who share a passion for phones and mobile technologies.

That being said, part of the responsibilities of the site is to provide mobile related information to its readers; a responsibility that readers and observers can attest to being fulfilled. However, not every information users might be looking for is readily available – such as those searching for what the best selling phones in the country (Nigeria) are. So, being a contributor here, I decided to do something about that; at least to the best of my available resources.

Some of the steps taken to achieving the set goal
To achieve this objective, I went out to the marketplace to liaise with mobile phone sellers; considering that a source for such consolidated data does not exist, to my knowledge at least. The data used to compile this piece was collected between November 2014 and March 2015, from phone sellers in both Lagos and Abuja.

Since the major sellers would not open their books up – usually citing that they as a branch did not have the authority to – I interviewed them, while keeping a lot of the focus on the smaller scale wholesalers and retailers – ones I could prove moved a substantial amount of units, regardless of their smaller scale. This was achieved by employing the expertise of an inside man (a popular seller himself) in the marketplace, to identify these major smaller scale sellers. In addition, I also spoke with sales representatives for major OEMS at prominent phone stores.

The findings
On this quest to find the top selling phones in Nigeria, I also found other useful information; most of which will be published in a companion piece, in the coming weeks. However, one of the most common trends I found was that all sellers – both major and small scale – mentioned that mobile phones didn’t sell in the manner they used to initially, when they were first introduced to the Nigerian market. A number of sellers stated that these days, it’s harder to point to a best selling device; as competition has increased tremendously over the years, coupled with the ever changing tastes of the contemporary consumers.

Below is a list of top selling phones from the survey, in no particular order. All the sellers I spoke with attest to the following phones attracting demand highly.

* Nokia N105
* Tecno 340
* Nokia 108
* Nokia 107
* Nokia 210
* Nokia 225
* Nokia X
* Nokia XL
* Nokia X2
* Nokia 530
* Nokia N130
* Tecno M3
* Tecno Phantom Z
* iPhone 6
* iPhone 6+
* HTC One M8 / M8 Dual sim
* HTC Mini 2
* BlackBerry Q10
* BlackBerry Q5
* BlackBerry Passport
* Samsung Galaxy Note 4
* Samsung Galaxy S5
* Huawei Ascend Mate 7
* Infinix Zero
* Solo S410
* Solo S500
* Solo X520
* Samsung Galaxy Note 3
* iPhone 5/5s
* HTC One M7

An honorable mention is the TECNO Phantom A+, which a number of sellers mentioned to be highly in demand few months before I began my investigation.

Used Phones, Anyone?
I also conducted an investigation into the ‘used phones’ sector of the market, as I understand that a number of Nigerians prefer to purchase used phones. Not necessarily because every consumer is price sensitive, but also because the prices of newer devices – especially flagships – are highly unjustifiable to a large number of Nigerian buyers. The following phones attracted a lot of demand in the second hand/ used phones category:


* Blackberry Z10
* Blackberry Q10
* HTC One M7
* iPhone 5/5s
* Samsung Galaxy S4
* Samsung Galaxy S5
* HTC One M8
* Generally, old BB OS 7 devices e.g Blackberry Bold 9900, Curve 9320 e.t.c.

Some limitations worth noting
I understand that the methodology employed in achieving the reported results is not completely foolproof. However, as I stated at the start of this article – I embarked on this quest to the best I could, considering the available resources.

I appreciate that the findings are limited to just two states – Lagos and Abuja – however, this are two areas in the country with a large base of mobile phone sellers – both larger wholesalers and retailers.

In addition, the data used to compile this article was mainly supplied by the sellers – so I had to believe whatever it was that they provided. Most of them did not open up their books for me, to give actual figures of units sold. However, the correlation that existed across the data supplied by the different sellers gives me confidence that they were mainly truthful and accurate.

Furthermore, the Ikeja Computer Village was not thoroughly investigated, as the Lagos data was supplied mainly from the Victoria Island (Saka Tinubu) axis. In Abuja, the Bannex Plaza (Wuse 2) area was the main source of the data. The concentration of both wholesalers and smaller retailers in these areas was crucial for me, considering the available resources.


Final Words
I understand that this is not the most empirical source for those looking for the top selling phones in Nigeria, however it is arguably the only available at the moment and provides a framework for furthering this agenda subsequently. With time and more effort, access to actual units sold from different sellers – mainly the bigger outlets and wholesalers should be available. Perhaps even a source that consolidates the numbers from different regions in the country.

In addition, as Mobility Arena continues to grow and the available resources expand, we will endeavor to embark on these quests more often, using the established networks more efficiently to provide a more detailed picture of what the top selling devices are – perhaps with more accurate figures to accompany them. Till then, sit back and enjoy the highly informative content distributed through this portal normally. Finally, don’t forget to mention the devices, in your opinion, which you think are top selling at the moment. Furthermore is there any device on the list that came as a surprise to you? Please sound off through the comments section below!

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  1. I noticed that Nokia phones still sells. Maybe it is because of the confidence that the nigerian public has already given to it or the light situation in the country. I wish Nokia made android devices. Nokia should quickly find a solution to get back because they still have a fair market share. If the gionee does a rigorous advert about the M5 and it monster battery to the Nigerian public, it ‘MAY’ drive up interest from us.

  2. It would be interesting to note if there’s a correlation to the release of a new device and the sale of a previous model.

    It’s interesting to see that the “best sellers” are a mixed bag of devices and operating systems, but used tends to be more limited. Wonder what the highest selling used device is?

  3. @justiceotuya Thanks for reading and contributing. I agree, those are part of the reasons Nokia phones are still popular around this parts; in addition to their affordable prices. If you noticed , the more expensive Nokia phones like the Lumia 930, or 1520 are not part of the list. I also want Nokia to come back, even stronger; but for now they cant manufacture phones as a result of the Microsoft deal. Perhaps Android running smartphones would be added to their arsenal; considering their change in strategy and also the emergence of the N1 tablet which Foxconn manufactured, with their brand name.

    @Noni Thanks for reading and contributing. If i understand you clearly, I think there is. For instance the older Blackberry devices enjoy a high demand in the used phones segment, while the newer ones are demanded brand new. About the highest selling used device, I would say it is the Blackberry Z10 from all indications. Every seller who sold used devices mentioned it as being in high demand. Its like the Nokia N105 – which a particlar seller described as – ‘ the phone everyone has’ 🙂 Wonder where he got that from, cos i don’t own one!

  4. Nice of you to point out that the research was done from the sellers point although I believe that is the most valid point of view as there is no union of buyers per say.

    Do you think these phones sell more because of their cost value or durability? I ask because the Tecno made this list and I am still trying to understand if that brand is popular in the markets here because of its relatively cheaper prices as I truly doubt their durability.

  5. I’m a little surprised at your findings. I thought Tecno would dominate the list.???????????????? Good work. But you didn’t get a representative population.

  6. @ekayna Thanks for reading and contributing. From my investigation, there are different reasons why these devices sell more; part of which are factors that you have mentioned. About the Tecno brand, I am pretty sure pricing plays a huge role in its popularity; however i don’t think they are not durable. Remember devices have segments the OEM tries to reach with a particular device. Besides things like mobile phones are standardized goods; each manufacturer has access to the parts any other does, most of the time – so long they are willing to pay for it.

  7. @Notiki Thanks for reading and contributing also. I thought Tecno had reasonable presence on the list, considering a bigger brand like LG for instance, is no where to be found on the same list. Thanks for the commendation! About the population I tried to make it as representative as I could. Bigger sellers like SLOT was consulted, wholesalers, smaller retailers – who move a decent amount of units, and even representatives of major OEMs at phone shops, were all part of the sample.

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