A look at Counterpoint’s chart of the Nigerian smartphone market during Q1 2019 confirms TECNO, itel, and Infinix as kings in the land, and still growing strong.
The top 5 smartphone brands in Nigeria – TECNO, Samsung, itel, Infinix, and Huawei – all together had a 77% hold on the country’s smartphone market as at Q1 2019. This is information from Counterpoint Research and very much in line with what we already know about the market.
You may have come across those bogus claims that Samsung and Apple are the leading brands in Nigeria’s smartphone market. I have seen a few over the years. Ridiculous, especially the Apple part. iPhones have never been a significant part of the country’s smartphone market. They never have; they likely never will.
In the last several years, Transsion’s brands, TECNO, itel, and Infinix, together have been the big guns in Nigeria. Samsung still holds its own in second place between TECNO and itel, but it is under a lot of pressure. Thankfully, the Korean brand has made some adjustments in the last half a year and those adjustments will pay off for it.
Nigerian Smartphone Market Figures for Q1 2019
Here is how things stand in the Nigerian smartphone market right now:
Who are the others that make up the remaining 23%?
Apple. Nokia. Gionee. Xiaomi. OPPO. Soda. Lava. And many other smaller brands. So, Apple iPhones are more like in the bottom 5 smartphone brands in Nigeria than at the top.
Plus, as a friend has pointed out, this has implications for the entertainment industry in Nigeria. When an artiste gets listed in the top 10 iTunes chart for Nigeria, you are looking at a miniscule number of Nigerian smartphone users. Yes; I know there is a vibrant second hand market for iPhones in the country. It is still a small segment of the market.
Other highlights of the Nigerian Smartphone Market from Q1 2019
Here are a few more key points from the Counterpoint report:
- Transsion Group (Tecno, itel, and Infinix) reached its highest ever share (56%) in Q1 2019.
- Samsung remained the second largest smartphone brand, with a 17% share.
- Nokia was the fastest growing smartphone brand for the period, but still remained a blip on the radar.
- Huawei also recorded some growth during the period.
Now that OPPO and Xiaomi are in Nigeria
But Apple aside, let’s talk about expectations in the industry, especially with the arrival of big boys like Xiaomi and OPPO. Both of them are in the top 5 global smartphone brands, so they are quite formidable players.
Let’s look at OPPO first. OPPO is positioning itself as a premium brand and its representatives have said that they want to be identified with brands like Apple and Samsung. Let’s be clear: there is a market for their devices in Nigeria. But it is a small market. That means they cannot expect to make huge sales, as Nigeria isa price-sensitive market.
Samsung has had to adjust and churn out a new range of smartphones that offer better value for money. The new A series is a direct response to the challenge from budget brands like Xiaomi, TECNO, itel and Infinix, no doubt. Those brands were eating Samsung’s lunch here in the Nigerian smartphone market and everywhere else. OPPO will face the same challenges that Apple and Samsung face in the market. It is that simple.
OPPO will record purchases from the elite mostly. But in terms of being a threat to TECNO, itel and Infinix, the threat level is next to zero.
That leaves us with Xiaomi. And here we have the first real challenger to Transsion’s brands. Xiaomi has a reputation for producing phones that offer great value for money. At the top end of the Nigerian smartphone market, TECNO and Infinix will face stiff competition from Xiaomi. It is at that top end that the new challenger offers the biggest threat. Xiaomi has multiple models to do battle with.
However, once you step down to the entry-level and lower mid-range segment, TECNO, itel and Infinix still have it on lockdown. The only Xiaomi model in that range is the Redmi Go. itel has a fleet of options, and so do TECNO and Infinix. Xiaomi will struggle to keep up against the 3 siblings in those classes.