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

Nigerian Smartphone Market Figures for 2012

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Global Smartphone market size

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?


  1. I think the smartphone market as regards the andriod is equally rising and gradually taking over the bb market. One of the few reasons why it hasn’t surpass the bb market is,
    1. Nigerians have not fully found its use/benefits over the bb. Bb which saves them money as regards with the bbm.
    2. Network providers are very much not helping matters when it comes to high tarrifs.

    Just of recent, Etisalat reduced their “absolute plan” from 3000 to 1500. And “complete plan” from 1500 to 1000. And MTN followed. Looking at the margine, Am thinking it can still come down.

    But its still very high for the Andriod and the IOS users. Imagine u get 200mb for 1000. That isn’t going last u a week. And u also pay 1000 for an unlimited download.

    I think the network providers should just balance this and see both them and the end users rise surpass Egypt and South Africa. – its all in the network providers hands to determine the growth.
    Its very obvious Nigerians would buy the gadjets. Just creat platforms to enjoy this growth.

  2. “For one, it is clear that Nigeria is still very much a feature phone market.”
    I beg to differ. In my opinion, Nigeria is still a dumbphone market. However, we need statistics to confirm this. What are our criteria for dumb, feature and smartphones? The criteria can be very loose making it hard to pin down the lines.

  3. Smartphone sales will increase. there is capacity for growth beyond the 3%. But just like opeoluwa mentioned, the network providers need to consider making their data more affordable may like plans for the blackberry.

  4. Why Egypt and South Africa is above Nigeria? I think the obvious answer would be the cost and the standard of living in all three countries. It really doesn’t have anything to do with population.

    What percentage of the 160million Nigerians have the money to pay school fees for their kids let alone buy a smart phone?

    But they all still use phones. Far more cheaper phones than the over priced blackberry and the others.

  5. Though the likes of Tecno and Infinix are relatively new in the smartphone business in Nigeria, I doubt very much the estimate accounted for their products. I also doubt the estimate includes all those second-hand BB devices and other smartphones coming into the country from the UK and other western counties.

    In my thinking, the number of second-hand BB devices in use in the country may be higher than those of new acquisitions. Still, i admit that the percentage of smartphone users in the country is underwhelming in comparison to that of dumb/feature phones.

  6. No matter how many cheap android devices Techno, Samsung etal. pump into the Nigerian market, Blackberry will always be the smartphone of choice. Why? Imagine paying N1,500/month for unlimited downloads, chatting, email (10 accounts) etc and contrast that with 200Mb for N1000. Most of the cheap cheap android devices run on android 2.3 and below (the data guzzling version). Just like Opeoluwa Rotifa mentioned, if the Network Providers can review their prices, there will definitely be an upsurge in smartphone usage especially android.

  7. Blackberry will be a winner simply because you get more for your money data-wise (no, not just BBM). Android may be a nice idea but still costly by comparison.

    eyereneID said it: why should people choose a smartphone (apart from bragging purposes or unless it was gifted) when they struggle to pay their children’s school fees? I can bet if you check the stats in more detail, that 3.2% are by and large, mainly from the middle class.

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