There are many articles about the top smartphone brands in Nigeria, some of them written by people who pull out rankings out of a hat. This article is based on smartphone shipments in the country and so gives you an accurate picture of the top 5 smartphone brands in Nigeria by marketshare.
I have seen people list Apple iPhone as one of the top smartphone brands in Nigeria, when in fact, that brand is at the bottom of the smartphone heap in the country – lumped together with others who make up the bottom 16%-25% of the smartphone market over the last few years.
The top 5 smartphone brands in Nigeria
Here are the top 5 smartphone brands in Nigeria by marketshare. These are the top phone companies in the country.
Number 1: TECNO Mobile
Chinese manufacturer, TECNO, is by far the largest smartphone brand in Nigeria, with a marketshare of 33%. Since its introduction into the country years ago, TECNO has aggressively won itself into the hearts of millions of Nigeria, who before the brand’s arrival to offer affordable alternatives to existing products in the market, had no access to smartphones.
A member of Transsion Holdings, the brand continues to hold on to the budget segment of both the smartphone and feature phone market, alongside its sister brand, itel. TECNO’s share of the smartphone market is still on the upward climb, giving it a secure spot among the top 5 smartphone brands in Nigeria.
Number 2: Samsung
With 23% of the market, Samsung comes up in the 2nd place. The brand has always been a prominent player and is king of the premium smartphone segment in Nigeria, as small as that segment is. With most residents of low income, the premium smartphone market in Nigeria has remained a very small niche – the same tiny niche that Apple plays in.
Over the years, budget brands have eaten up huge chunks of the market by offering more affordable options. Samsung’s new Galaxy A series are helping the brand to offer more competitive models. As it stands, its spot among the top 5 smartphone brands in Nigeria is not under threat. It has actually grown its market share in the last year.
Number 3: itel Mobile
itel Mobile is the entry-level brand in the Transsion family of mobile brands. It caters exclusively to the bottom of the pyramid and has successfully carved out 13% of the Nigerian smartphone market for itself.
The brand continues to successfully implement more advanced features like fingerprint scanner and triple camera in cheap Android phones that millions of Nigerians can afford.
Number 4: Infinix Mobile
Infinix is the premium brand in the Transsion family tree and currently hold 12% of the Nigerian smartphone market share.
Number 5: Huawei
Traditionally a complacent brand here in Nigeria, in recent times Huawei has turned up the heat in the country, becoming quite aggressive. And the brand is recording wins to show for their new energy. Its budget/mid-range offerings have been well-received by young people.
Huawei currently has 3% of the Nigerian smartphone market. It is a precarious spot that the brand has to fight hard to keep, as Nokia is climbing fast (see below) and definitely gunning to take Huawei’s place on this list.
The Nigerian Smartphone Market In Summary
Being a country where over 80% of the residents are in poverty, it is easy to see how budget brands like TECNO, itel, and Infinix have gained a strong foothold and together control almost 60% of the entire market. The largest volumes are seen in the ₦18,000 to ₦35,000 price segment, which accounts for about 45% of the entire market activity.
The top 5 smartphone brands in Nigeria together have 84% of the market, leaving the remaining 16% to be shared among other brands like Apple, Nokia, Gionee, Xiaomi, OPPO, Soda, Afrione, and Lava, among others. Of this group, Nokia is currently the fastest growing brand with 61% growth, largely delivered from the performance of Nokia 2.1, Nokia 3.1 Plus (see review), and Nokia 6.1 Plus in the market.
Xiaomi and OPPO are new in the Nigerian market with very exciting smartphone models at interesting price points. Their biggest models have been in the mid-range segment where TECNO, Samsung and Infinix play hard. By this time next year, we will have information on how well they have fared in actual sales.
Most of their devices do not fall within the segment where the largest sales occur – the ₦18,000 to ₦35,000 price segments, so don’t expect any big numbers. At best, they will edge Huawei down from the top 5 spot and eat up small bites of the other 4’s portions.
Any brands that want to make a splash in Nigeria has to conquer the ₦18,000 to ₦35,000 segment. Xiaomi and OPPO are not those brands. At least not with their current line-up of mid-range and flagship smartphones.
How many smartphones are in use in Nigeria?
The figures for 2019 are not out yet, but as at end of 2017, there were 38 million smartphones in the hands of 25 million Nigerians, based on data from mobile network operators in the country.
All statistics for the top 5 smartphone brands in Nigeria are sourced from CounterPoint Research.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.