‘Rise in Internet, Mobile Device Users Impacting eCommerce in Nigeria’

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Emma Okonji

The latest Jumia Mobile Report 2019 has shown improved growth in internet users and mobile device users.

This, according to the report, impacted positively on eCommerce business in Nigeria and the global economy in 2018. 

Across the globe in 2018, there were over five billion unique mobile subscribers, and 60 per cent of the connection was through smartphones. 

Internet users peaked at 3.6 billion, that is, almost half of the world population had mobile internet access. In Nigeria, there were over 172 million mobile subscribers, accounting to a penetration rate of 87 per cent of the population. This figure represented a 6.4 per cent growth increase, compared to 162 million subscribers in 2017, the report said.

Analysing the report, Head, Growth and Partnerships at Jumia Nigeria, Mr. Stanislaus Martins, said: “Over 112 million Nigerians had access to the internet in 2018, representing 56 per cent of the population. This accounted for an increase of 14.32 per cent year-on-year from 2017. The availability of lower price point phones still remains the major driver of smartphone penetration. At the end of 2018, there were over 36 million smartphone users, representing a penetration of 18.37 per cent. While the number of smartphone users might have increased year-on-year, its penetration is still very insignificant.”

Analysing the rise in mobile phone penetration in Nigeria, which is a key factor for the growth in e-Commerce in Nigeria, Head, Vendor Operations and Experience, Jumia Nigeria, Omobola Onasanya, said lower price point smartphones contributed immensely in growing the eCommerce sector in 2018.

According to her: “Asian brands have consistently enjoyed massive patronage because of their Africa-specific strategy of introducing lower price point smartphones into the Nigerian market.

“In 2018, Fero, Samsung, Nokia, Infinix and Tecno remained the customers’ favourites and the top-selling mobile brands on Jumia. 

“The average price of smartphones continues on a downward trajectory, as it dipped to $95 in 2018, from $117 in 2016, and $ 216 in 2014. This development is laudable as again, the major driver of this trend is attributed to the influx of Asian brands specifically targeted for the Nigerian market.” 

According to the report, telecommunications and information services, which is a sub-sector of the Information Communications Technology (ICT), contributed 77 per cent of the entire sector’s contribution to the GDP.

Overall, the mobile telecommunications sub-sector contributed 7.4 per cent to the country’s total GDP in 2018, compared to 5.5 per cent in 2017. Currently, 44 per cent of mobile subscribers in Nigeria are using 3G technology and 4 per cent are using 4G technology as compared to over 18 per cent 4G penetration in South Africa and 16 per cent in Angola. 

The report further added that Nigeria’s GDP growth leapfrogged from 0.8 per cent in 2017 to 1.9 per cent at the end of 2018, even though the growth was below the projected 2.3 per cent, majorly due to variations in prices of crude oil and its output. 

The country’s economic growth, for the first time, was hinged on non-oil sectors such as Agriculture, Information and Communications Technology, Manufacturing, and Transport Storage, the report added.