Smartphone prices have dropped by more than 50% in Nigeria and sales are up

Image: Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye
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Smartphones in Nigeria are now cheaper than ever before.

Data from an annual mobile report by Jumia Nigeria, one of the biggest e-commerce sellers in the country, shows prices of smartphones sold on its marketplace platform dropped by more than 50% to around $100 in the last three years.

The lower prices have predictably been a boon for sales as Jumia says its smartphone sales increased by 70% in 2017. Despite the fall in prices though, $100 smartphones remain out of reach for some Nigerians as it comes to double to current monthly minimum wage.

Jumia attributes the fall in prices to the “Africa-specific strategy” of Asian brands which produce and sell cheaper smartphones in Africa’s largest market. At the turn of the decade, Asian production of smartphones first started with knock-off versions of well-known brands but, over time, some Asian brands have since evolved to become more distinctive and sophisticated while being priced at much lower price points than top brands like Apple and Samsung. As a result, these more affordable brands have become more appealing to Nigeria’s middle-class buyers.

The most successful with this strategy is China’s Transsion Holdings which holds popular brands including Tecno, Infinix—among the top sellers on Jumia—and Itel. The company has long focused on an Africa-first strategy with its products and it is now reaping the rewards across the continent. Last year, Transsion’s brands combined for a 32% share of smartphone shipments in Nigeria—up from 25% in 2016. In comparison, despite still being the market leader, Samsung’s share dipped to 34%.