Nigeria’s Mobile Phone Market Dominated By Chinese Manufacturers

Phone Market

As of April 2023, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had approved 1,985 phones for sale in the nation.

Checks revealed that between January and the present, 24 new phone models have been approved in the NCC’s most recent update. The number was 1,961 in January before rising to 1,985 in April.

The Guardian’s investigation revealed the presence of brands from Finland, France, America, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates. Nevertheless, over 300 models from Chinese firms have flooded and dominated the Nigerian market during the past 15 years.

Tecno Mobile, Nokia, Wiko, Samsung, Panasonic, Huawei, Asus, Apple, HP, Google, Gionee, Alcatel, and Oppo are just a few of the phone manufacturers in this list.

None of these international companies have made a commitment to opening a manufacturing facility in Nigeria despite frequent large capital flights. AfriOne, a local operator, painfully strives to survive in the nation.

There were 1,492 type-approved phones as of February 2020; this number increased to 1,843 in April 2022; and 1,891 as of November 2022.

The Nigerian Communications Act of 2003 gives the NCC the authority to create and enforce standards for all telecommunications equipment used in Nigeria in order to guarantee that it functions properly and safely within the country’s telecoms environment. Thousands of unapproved phone brands are nevertheless offered for sale nationwide, despite regulatory attempts.

Even though unauthorized phones are typically subpar or phony, they sell faster than approved ones because they are priced lower.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, cautioned Nigerians not to purchase any phones that have not been certified for the market by the regulator as one of his arguments on the need for all phones in the country to be type-approved.

Danbatta, who disapproved of the prevalence of fake phones in the nation, said: “The menace of counterfeit and substandard handsets has assumed a global dimension and requires a lot of education on the part of the consumers and collaboration with other government agencies to address it.”

“Cases of influx and patronage of counterfeit handsets are more rampant in developing countries, such as Nigeria, where importers bring in substandard phones without recourse to the regulatory type-approval process aimed at certifying such devices as fit for the market.”

With shipments falling 17.8% year over year (YoY) to 17.6 million units in Q4 2022, Africa’s smartphone market contracted for the sixth consecutive quarter.

According to International Data Corporation (IDC), whose Global Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker reveals that shipments of feature phones to Africa fell 16.2% in the fourth quarter of 2022 to a total of 22.7 million units.

Arnold Ponela, a Senior Research Analyst at IDC, said: “The mobile phone industry is now challenged by constrained demand even though the supply constraints that had previously been weighing on the market have started to ease off,”

“Inflation and economic uncertainty have seriously dampened consumer spending, causing vendors to cut back drastically on shipments as their largest markets continue to struggle. The situation is not unique to Africa, with smartphone shipments declining across all major global markets in 2022.”

IDC reports that the largest drop in smartphone sales was in Egypt, where they fell 56.2% YoY in Q4 2022 as a result of new import limits that caused a lack of devices and an increase in price.

The depreciation of the Egyptian pound versus the US dollar, the difficult economic climate, and the government’s lack of approval of many letters of credit (LCs), which are necessary for import payments on non-essential products like mobile phones, have all made the issue worse.

Nigeria’s smartphone market shrank 32.1% YoY in Q4 2022, according to IDC, as a result of persistently high inflation and a lack of US currency there.

Due to rising Chinese vendor interest in the nation, improved local brand performance, and promotional efforts that took place throughout the holiday season, South Africa experienced the least amount of market decline in the region, decreasing just 1.8% YoY.

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