First Nokia, then BB, now Apple (Samsung has outsold them the last two quarters). When things get tough for brands in America, then they come here.
While not entirely true, this message strikes a cord. I say its not entirely true because Nokia has not been guilty of this. Nokia is the only mobile manufacturer that consistently gave the Nigerian market the attention that it deserved – and they did it for years.
Nokia didn’t turn to Nigeria because it was in trouble. Nokia invested in Nigeria when they were doing fine. So, we must exclude Nokia from this list.
Having gotten Nokia out of the way, I see no problem with the rest of the statement. For years, RIM makers of BlackBerry ignored Nigeria. In recent years, as their fortunes in North America have waned, they have had to fix their gaze on these shores.
Apple, the darling boy of the mobile world for years, ignored the Nigerian market. We were not good enough for their consideration. If you’ve been following my writings here on Mobility, you will recall that I have said that the iPhone winning streak wouldn’t last and that sales would drop eventually.
Well, Prophet Mo was right. IPhone sales are dropping. Samsung has outsold them. Some reports also say that Nokia shipped more Windows Phone devices in North America than Apple shipped iPhones on same continent. I am yet to verify this. One thing is clear though, the iPhone market in North America is saturated.
And guess – Apple now needs us. Ha! The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. They are looking to improve marketshare by reaching out to Nigeria.
News has it that Apple has appointed four authorised resellers in Nigeria and offering warranty on their products purchased through those channels. Shock, horror, Apple are also looking at entering into partnership with network operators.
It is good news for Apple fans in Nigeria, and it will help Apple sell more too. A win-win situation. Still, it must be said: any mobile manufacturer who ignores the Nigerian market does so at their own risk. They will eventually eat humble pie and come courting us when push comes to shove.
Having made this point, I am looking at Nokia and thinking that they are making a big mistake in ignoring the Nigerian smartphone market at this time after all the years of investment here. It just sounds all wrong. Perhaps we shall not have too long to wait to see them do a u-turn and start pushing Windows Phones here too.
Everyone else seems to be courting Nigeria as a smartphone market. Meanwhile, Nokia who used to own the Nigerian smartphone market are focusing on S40 feature phones only. What’s the point of ignoring such a vibrant market when eventually you must seek refuge there when things look down?
Nigeria is not one of the world’s most vibrant mobile markets for nothing.