If you are interested in the Nigerian smartphone market and really would love some info you can use, here are some quick facts released courtesy of front line mobile developer, Emeka Okoye:
– Among the 125m active mobile subscribers in Nigeria, only 4m smartphones are in use. That is less than 3.2% of the country’s mobile subscribers.
– Nigeria’s 4m smartphones is third place behind South Africa (11m) and Egypt (7m).
– There are an estimated 1.8m BBM users in the country.
What do we make out of the above figures? For one, it is clear that Nigeria is still very much a feature phone market. If smartphones make up only 3.2% of the country’s mobile subscribers, you can see why that list of top selling phones is just absolutely ridiculous. Developers take note. If you want the numbers, do SMS, java or mobile web. Of course, you can still be a success chasing the 4m smartphones, depending on the demographics you are after.
These stats lend support to my position that BlackBerry which enjoyed significant growth in the Nigerian market about a year ago has hit a plateau. Many BlackBerry purchases today seem to be merely repeat buyers upgrading their phones. Things will get worse too if the manufacturer sticks to selling their new BB10 smartphones at bank-bursting prices. Very few old BB users in the country can currently afford to upgrade to BB10. That means when they need an up-to-date mobile, they are likely to go the route of Android or Windows Phone.
Meanwhile, what could be responsible for Africa’s most vibrant mobile market and most populous country ranking at a far 3rd behind South Africa and Egypt in smartphones figures? Egypt has 3m more smartphones than Nigeria does. South Africa has 7m more! Purchasing power of the huge chunk of the population is one clear factor. What else? Enlightenment levels?
Finally, courtesy of Tomi Ahonen, we know that the African smartphone market itself isn’t growing at a superb rate. With just 2% of the global smartphone market as at April 2013, Africa is far from becoming a vibrant place to sell smartphones. The potential is there – cheap Android smartphones are flooding the market, but those haven’t made a huge difference yet. Perhaps when we get a smartphone platform that meets the needs of African users?