Poor e-payment killing Nigerian app market

The emerging mobile app industry is the new Nigeria’s avenue of capital flight by Geoff Iyatse

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For the Communications and Public Relations Manager (West Africa), Google, Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, there is a mobile application for every activity under the sun. From mundane things such as learning tips on laundering to exciting ventures in sporting, shopping and travelling, there is a suitable app for every smartphone user.

Indeed, the economy of mobile apps, which is driven by the rising obsession for smartphones, is a huge one. Statistics are contradictory but they all point to a high growth rate in consumption.

According to eMarketer, a global market analytical platform, Nigeria’s smartphone consumption hits 23.1 million this year. The country, which occupies the 17th position in global ranking, is predicted to reach 34 million users in the next two years, precisely in 2018. However, statista.com, another research organisation, puts the current consumption figure at 13.2 million. It predicts that another new 10.1 million subscribers, it predicts, will join the number in four years. That puts the four-year growth rate at about 76 per cent.

Offering an idea on the number of Nigerians that subscribe to smartphones in November, the Nigerian Communications Commission puts the figure of the Internet users at 97.21 million. Expectedly, some of the Internet usage may come from laptop and desktop computers.

But given other statistics, which posit that 95 per cent Nigerians access the Internet on mobile devices, the number of smartphone users, according to the NCC research, is far higher than 23.1 or 13.2 million estimates given by foreign researchers.

Though statistics on mobile apps are rare, data on smartphone subscribers can always give a clue. Yusuf Hassan, a UK-based Nigerian developer, puts this in clearer terms. “The higher the number of smartphone penetration in Nigeria the bigger the app industry will undoubtedly become,” Hassan added.

Findings by our correspondent showed that a mobile phone user consumes between 25 and 100 mobile apps (or more), bringing the average consumption to 62.5. The investigation also revealed that first-time users tend to subscribe to more apps than other older users.

Dele Momodu, a roadside app ‘vendor’, explains this, “First-time users tend to subscribe for higher number of apps because they are not concerned about benefits. They love to see the icons on their phone screens as they flip. Performance of the apps they download is secondary to them.

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