CONSUMER TECH TREND | Chinese phones gain Nigeria mobile market share

CONSUMER TECH TREND | Chinese phones gain Nigeria mobile market share

CONSUMER TECH TREND | Chinese phones gain Nigeria mobile market share

0

Chinese phones which were traditionally called Chinco or China phone are in the Nigerian mobile market because they were entered with relatively cheaper prices points.

But that was back then as Chinese phones from Chinese device makers that were regarded relatively inferior to bigger global brands have consolidated their market hold in Nigeria.

Three years ago, Tecno, a Chinese device maker, who introduced phone brands that also go by the same name, took exception to that public tag that haunted its products in Nigeria.

Three years ago, Tecno, a Chinese device maker, who introduced phone brands that also go by the same name, took exception to that public tag that haunted its products in Nigeria.

More than a decade ago, a large number of feature phones produced by Chinese device makers such as itel, another brand created by Tecno, Royal and many others made their Nigeria mobile market entry and Nigerians embraced them because of their features-rich devices and cheaper price points.

Technology Times photo shows Chinese phones and others phone brands seen on display at Computer Village in Ikeja, Lagos
Technology Times photo shows Chinese phones and others phone brands seen on display at Computer Village in Ikeja, Lagos

Most of the devices were built with very high audio performance that became a trademark for Chinese phones in Nigeria. This feature, as well as the rather “odd” designs of Chinco phones which made them easily recognisable, did not initially let them make their way into the hands of Nigerians mobile phone consumers despite being relative affordable.

Some of the Chinco phones had unfamiliar but funny-sounding names such as Multimedia, Radio and the likes, while others had names that sounded almost like popular non-Chinese phone brands. A good example is a feature phone with the name Nokla. Unless the buyer looks closer at the spelling of the name, it could easily be mistaken for a Nokia phone.

These Chinese feature phones were cheaper than then non Chinese variants that counted market leaders at the time that included Finnish device maker, Nokia; U.S. device makers, Motorola and Apple; South Korean device maker, Samsung and French device maker, Sagem. Except for advanced Chinese feature phones which cost more than Nokia Torch Phones, the Chinese feature phones were sold for as low as N1, 500.

Some of the Chinco phones had unfamiliar but funny-sounding names such as Multimedia, Radio and the likes, while others had names that sounded almost like popular non-Chinese phone brands. A good example is a feature phone with the name Nokla. Unless the buyer looks closer at the spelling of the name, it could easily be mistaken for a Nokia phone.

In 2011, Tecno introduced the first Chinese Android phone in the Nigeria, the Tecno N3, which made a market debut at a price range of N13, 000 and N18, 000, depending on the outlet you buy from.

Since then, Tecno Android phones have grown their market position with new attractive designs, advanced features and really cheaper prices to compete with existing non-Chinese smartphone brands like Apple, Samsung and HTC.

Tecno N3, the first Chinese Android phone introduced into the Nigerian mobile market

When the Chinese phone maker introduced the Tecno Camon C8 in August 2015, which was sold for as low as N15, 000 to N20,000 depending on the store, it helped the device maker compete with bigger phone brands like Samsung and Apple in Nigeria.

Today, Tecno’s latest flagship smartphone, the Phantom 6 costs as much as N89, 000 while the Phantom 6Plus costs as much as N130, 000.

Also, Chinese brands such as Infinix and Huawei which came into Nigerian mobile market with cheap smartphones ranging from N15,000 to N25,000 have now introduced more sophisticated smartphones competing favourably at price points ranging from N40,000 to over N100, 000.

Surprisingly, Chinese smartphone brands such as Tecno, Infinix and Huawei currently sells more than rival non-Chinese smartphone brands like iPhone, Samsung and HTC.

Technology Times confirmed this during a visit last week to Nigeria’s biggest technology market cluster, Computer Village located in Ikeja area of Lagos State, Nigeria’s key economic capital.

Technology Times also confirmed from market players that there has been a slash in the prices of some smartphone brands sold in the market in the past few weeks to boost sales. Despite this incentives, sales have continued to drop as consumer technology market trend shows.

Chinese phone brands, Tecno Phantom 6 Plus by Tecno

Computer Village in Ikeja, the biggest technology market in Nigeria was less crowded during the working hours of wednesday when Technology Times visited, compared to the massive number of people I saw in the market when I visited in December last year.

Although, people kept on trooping in and out of the market but the crowd was nothing compared to the large number of people that used to flood the market in the past.

In the heat of the festive season, Santa Clauses were also seen displaying by the roadside and the sound of music is heard all over. Amazing street dancers were also seen trying to promote various tech brands and draw the attention of the passersby to the devices displayed inside the showrooms. Trust me, someone visiting the market for the first time can get carried away by these vibes, forgetting his/her mission to the market.

Ms Funke Opeke, Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, says government plans to diversify the economy from oil and create more jobs requires Information and Communication Technology (ICT) penetration across Nigeria.
Music is heard all over with amazing street dancers trying to draw the attention of people passing by to devices displayed in showrooms of mobile phone outlets in Computer Village, Ikeja.

Technology Times visited the showrooms of some of the major phone dealers in the market- SLOT and 3C Hub, as well as some smaller dealers and the revelation from the market players are very instructive.

Upon entering Slot, I met some consumers trying to find out prices of the displayed smartphones which all had price tags. But I noticed that most of the consumers ended up walking out of the fully-stocked showroom without buying any phone. The story was the same when I visited SLOT.

In order to get the sales representatives in the showrooms I visited to respond to my questions which would be difficult if I introduce myself as a journalist, I had to act like a customer shopping for a new phone. One of the sales representatives I spoke with made some shocking revelations.

I was surprised to find out that the prices of some of the smartphone brands in the market were reduced, although the price differences are not that much. I discovered that the prices of some Infinix and Tecno Smartphone models and more surprisingly, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, were also reduced.

This totally changed the mindset I had before my trip to Computer Village in Ikeja. I never expected the prices of any of the smartphone brands to be reduced judging by the high exchange rate. Also, a few weeks ago, I came across some smartphones that cost quite much more than they cost few months ago, including Infinix Hot Note.

I also gathered that just as the prices of some smartphone reduced, so did the prices of other smartphone brands were drastically increased.

The sales representatives attributed the obvious cause of the increase in prices to the increase in exchange rate and high cost of shipping the devices into Nigeria.

To satisfy my curiosity as to what led to the decrease in the prices of some of the smartphones, I directed my questions to some of the sales representatives towards that direction and they all told me the same reasons.

After witnessing a massive decrease in sales following the increase in prices of smartphones in Nigeria, the phone dealers decided to slightly reduce the prices of some smartphones through the just concluded 2016 Black Friday promotions and anniversary deals to boost sales. Despite these price reductions though, the sales representatives confirmed that sales have continued to drop.

People seen trooping in and out of Computer Village in Ikeja, Lagos

 

Black Friday Nigeria, an annual sales event that offers sellers the opportunity to make impressive sales at massive discount prices is promoted by online and offline computer dealers to customers within a specific period of time, usually towards the end of the year.

One of the sales representatives I spoke with revealed that the prices of Infinix Smartphones, produced by Infinix Mobility, a Hong Kong-based smartphone maker dropped by N1000 each during 3C Hub’s 2016 Black Friday and has remained the same ever since.

The sales representative explained that Infinix HOT 4 Lite, Infinix Hot 4 and Infinix Hot 4Pro used to be sold for N38, 000, N43, 500 and N50, 500 respectively but are now sold for N37, 000, N42, 500 and N49, 500 respectively.

Thinking I am a potential customer, the sales representative tried to persuade me to buy the any of the phones or check back in few days times as there will be a further decrease in the prices of the Infinix phones.

Chinese phone brand, Huawei p9

“Don’t worry, just come back in a few days time, you will see that the prices will be decreased because of the Xmas bonanza that will take off then but you can still buy the phones now because you may come back and see that their prices have been increased”, he said and that got me laughing.

Another smartphone brand with a slight reduction in price is from Chinese mobile phone maker, Tecno Mobile. While Tecno Camon C9 was previously sold for N59, 500, it is currently sold for N59, 000. Tecno’s latest flagship, the Phantom 6 and Phantom 6 Plus was previously sold for N92, 000 and N135, 000 respectively but currently sell for N89, 000 and N130, 000 respectively.

Unlike the above mentioned smartphone brands that witnessed a slight reduction in price, South Korean smartphone brand, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge on its part witnessed a massive reduction in price.

The prices of smartphone brands such as iPhone, a U.S. brand from Apple and Huawei, a Chinese phone brand are exceptional as they have recorded steep increase. iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus which were previously sold for N180, 000 and N230, 000 respectively, are currently sold for N280, 000 and N300, 000 respectively.

Explaining the reason behind the massive slash in price, the sales representative in charge explained to Technology Times that when the phone was sold for N308, 000, the buyer gets the smartphone and an extra, the Samsung Galaxy J1 Mini also bundled for free. But with the current price of N285, 000, the buyer gets just the Galaxy S7 Edge alone.

The prices of smartphone brands such as iPhone, a U.S. brand from Apple and Huawei, a Chinese phone brand are exceptional as they have recorded steep increase. iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus which were previously sold for N180, 000 and N230, 000 respectively, are currently sold for N280, 000 and N300, 000 respectively.

The Huawei P9 Lite was previously sold for N99, 000 but currently sold for N111, 000, and the Huawei P9 which was currently sold for N185, 000 is currently sold for N210, 000.

A shocking revelation was made by another sales representative who revealed that despite the high increase in the prices of Huawei P9 and P9 Lite smartphones, the phones currently sell more than when it was far cheaper.

“People are even buying the phones more now that they are expensive compared to when they were cheaper. The reason is because when the phone was newly released, Nigerians didn’t want to spent their hard-earned money on a new smartphone model when they are not sure if it is worth the price”, the sales representative explained.

“They are now confident enough to buy the phones even though their prices have increased because they have heard the good testimonies of those who have bought theirs before now and are enjoying the phones”, she added.

Finally, I gathered that SLOT has drastically reduced the prices of some smartphones sold on its platform to mark the 18th anniversary celebration of the Nigerian phone outlet and also to show appreciation to its customers for their patronage since the inception of the brand.

The table below compares previous and current prices of some of the Smartphone brands in Computer Village, Ikeja:

SMARTPHONE MODEL PREVIOUS PRICES CURRENT PRICES
Tecno Phantom 6 N92, 000 N89, 000
Tecno Phantom 6 Plus N135, 000 N130, 000
Techno Camon C9 N59, 500 N59, 000
Infinix Hot 4 Lite N43, 500 N42, 500
Infinix Hot 4 N38, 000 N37, 000
Infinix Hot 4 Pro N50, 500 N49, 500
Samsung Galaxy S7edge N308, 000 N285, 000
iPhone 6S N180, 000 N280, 000
iPhone 6S Plus N230, 000 N300, 000
Huawei P9 Lite N99, 000 N111, 000
Huawei P9 N185, 000 N210, 000

 

The table below shows SLOT’s current anniversary sale prices of some Smartphones as well as their previous prices.

SMARTPHONE MODEL PREVIOUS PRICE CURRENT PRICE
HTC 10 N242, 000 N206, 000
HTC Desire 728G N79, 000 N62, 000
HTC Desire 828 N111, 000 N78, 000
HTC Desire 620G N55, 000 N38, 000
HTC One M9 Plus N164, 000 N155, 000
HTC One X9 N150, 000 N114, 000
HTC Desire 820 N105, 000 N68, 000
HTC One A9 N150, 000 N114, 000
LG G Flex N124, 000 N83, 000
LG G5 N250, 000 N186, 000
LG X Screen N75, 000 N68, 000
LG L40 N24, 000 N16, 000
Lenovo A319 N22, 000 N14, 500
Elizabeth Edozie Technology Journalist @Technology Times 08077671659 elizabeth.edozie@technologytimes.ng

We want to hear from you...

%d bloggers like this:
Read more:
Gelmato to secure MTN Nigeria users against cybercrime

The Nigerian government has announced helplines to provide local assistance to address the cyberattacks underway called “WannaCrypt.”
Newer Sage ERP version makes Nigeria debut

Close