Nigeria has had the highest growth in mobile phone penetration in Africa, averaging 81%, and a mobile phone subscriber base that reached 150 million in 2017. This accounted for about 15% of Africa’s total mobile subscriptions. The 2020 figures have, however, jumped up significantly. The number of mobile phone subscriptions surpassed 200 million in 2020, according to the World Bank. Nigeria is, undoubtedly, the largest smartphone market in Africa.
In Nigeria, there is a thriving market for used electronics. This is due to the high cost of brand new high-spec devices, which has increased the demand for second-hand products. For those who want to go into the market for second-hand phones and PCs, this article will give an overview of the market and an estimate of the current prices of second-hand phones and PCs, which are in high demand. The article also highlights the factors that will influence future prices and demand.
Globally, the refurbished and used mobile phone market was valued at approximately US$49.9 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach US$143.8 billion in 2031, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.2 percent during the period. Apple, Samsung, Lenovo, Huawei, and Xiaomi accounted for 70% of the market share. Between 2016 and 2020, the market for refurbished and used mobile phones grew at an average rate of 7%. Mobile phone shipments into Africa averaged about 22 million units between Q2 2016 and Q1 2022.
The sale of refurbished and secondhand mobile phones has also increased significantly in online retail stores. This is partly owing to the constant growth of mobile phone subscribers and internet penetration over the years. The expanding youth population indicates that demand will continue to rise.
According to Counterpoint Technology Market Research, the second-hand phone market in Nigeria is dominated by Apple and Samsung products. In 2021, the number of Nigerians purchasing refurbished iPhones and Samsung products rose by 10%. Apple also dominates the market for secondhand phones in South Africa, Egypt, and Kenya. In the second half of 2020, Apple accounted for over 44% of the global second-hand market.
The table below shows the top two brands of secondhand phones currently in demand in Nigeria, their models, and prices. The data was sourced from both in-store (in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja) and online mobile phone vendors.
For second-hand PCs, its market globally was valued at US$9,340.22 million in 2020 and is expected to reach US$14,763.12 million by the end of 2027, growing at a CAGR of 6.8% between 2021 and 2027. While data on the market share of second-hand PCs is not available in Nigeria, a thriving market exists. The market trajectory has remained positive, with market revenue for laptops and tablets growing significantly, from $2,781.33 million in 2016 to $3,789.62 million in 2021. HP, Dell, Lenovo, Samsung, and Acer are the top brands in Nigeria's used PC market. The most popular brands, models, and prices are shown in the table below.
The naira to dollar exchange rate, the macroeconomic environment, as well as consumer taste and preference, are the main elements that influence the market.
For one, the exchange rate determines domestic prices. When a currency depreciates, imports become more expensive, which leads to an increase in prices. The Nigerian economy is seeing a rapid naira depreciation in the exchange rate market. Consider two market segments, one for new devices and another for used devices. Rising prices will lead to a fall in the demand in both segments. However, the used devices segment is likely to receive new demand due to a substitution effect where demand shifts from the new to the used market segment.
Slow economic growth, a rising unemployment rate, and poverty also affect demand. When economic indices are poor, there is a general decline in demand, which influences the demand for these products. However, the improvement in economic conditions will lead to a rise in the demand for second-hand phones and PCs. This is because individuals and households will have higher purchasing power. When the income of individuals increases, they can afford to buy more. This makes the increase in income, rising employment and a lower poverty rate have a positive influence on demand.
Taste and preferences for these devices and brands will affect the responsiveness of demand to higher prices. Demand will remain positive if taste and preferences are favorable. For most Nigerians, the favorable taste and preference for iPhones and Samsung brands will keep demand strong even in the presence of rising prices. For the PC market, taste and preference also play a role in the choice of brand, and can influence the responsiveness of demand to rising prices.
Those who are prospecting to enter the market for second-hand phones and PCs have a good chance of making a profit. This is because a large proportion of the Nigerian population are unable to pay for brand new phones and PCs. Taste and preference will continue to be an important driver of increased demand. Macroeconomic conditions also play an important role for demand. Demand will further increase if economic conditions in Nigeria improves. Nevertheless, business prospects remain largely positive in the second-hand market for phones and PCs.
Would-be market entrants and policy makers will need to closely consider the implication of the proliferation of second-hand devices that soon become e-waste. This is a rising scourge especially in emerging economies. Policies and regulation around the trade of used devices soon are imminent.