- Rising Repair Costs Trigger Demand for Rugged Phones
The increasing cost of repairing a damaged smart phone may trigger demand for durable phones across the globe because the market for resilient smart phones, which can take rough handling and sturdy screens, is bucking the stagnant trend in the wider market.
Indeed, new data from CCS Insight, a research company, predicted the market for tough handsets will boom 25 per cent this year to 22.2 million units, as more people opt for durable phones that can withstand a harsh environment. CCS expects the niche to continue to expand rapidly, with volumes of 54.5 million by 2021.
This is in contrast to a growth of less than four per cent for the global smartphone market, which has slowed as more consumers opted to hold on to their phones for longer.
In Nigeria, though, smartphone penetration as at 2016 was put at 30 per cent. The Guardian gathered that the cost of repairing damaged phones, especially those with screen problems, costs as much as between N80, 000 and N150, 000, especially for the high-end ones such as Apple, HTC, Samsung, LG, and many others. While the low end ones could go for between N10, 000 and N50, 000, depending on the negotiating power of the owner.
A computer engineer, with office at the Computer Village, Ikeja, who gave his name as Chijioke Magu, said most smartphone problems are usually damaged screens, which got broken in the process of handling.
Magu decried that he has close to 70 pieces of notable brands dumped by owners in his shop because they couldn’t afford to pay between N100, 000 and N150, 000 to repair a screen, especially now that the economy is bad, “rather, they go for cheaper feature phones of between N20, 000 and N30, 000.”
According to him, the possibility is high that in the next few years, phones whose screen and other parts are not tough will lose market share, “especially those that flaunt themselves as high end.”
CCS noted the market for rugged phones is split between consumer models and more expensive ultra rugged ones. It identified consumer durable phones to include the Cat Phone, made by Britain’s Bullitt Group, Samsung’s Galaxy Active, and Xcover models, plus ones from Japan’s. It stressed that ultra strong models aimed at industry are made by Sonim, Motorola Solutions, and Bartec Pixavi.
Resilient phones represent a small portion of the overall smartphone market, which is expected to reach 1.6 billion unit shipments this year. Yet CCS believes more consumers that work in manual labour are using their tough phones as a primary device, given improvements in their designs to make them less “thick and bulky.”
Head of research at CCS Insight, Ben Wood, said the durability of sturdy phones makes the devices more attractive to consumers who are fed up with fragile phones. “The mainstream Android smartphone market is now dominated by a small number of large players offering similar looking devices with near similar features. Differentiation is becoming increasingly challenging,” he said.
During its return to Nigeria, President, Sub-Sahara Africa, HMD Global, owners of Nokia, Justin Maier, said the brand will be able to offer something for everyone. From the new Nokia 3310 feature phone to the premium Nokia 6 smartphone, “we are bringing phones to Nigeria that will entice and delight, while offering simplicity, reliability, quality, durability and importantly, the human touch. I am looking forward to this new chapter in Africa for Nokia Phones.”
Asked why it returned to the country after about 10 years of absence, the Business Operations and Development Manager, Motorola Africa, Marcel Van De Pas, said apart from the fact that the market in the country is huge, “If we go back to the days of the Razor brand, it was disruptive and rugged, which made people bought into it immediately. The same will happen with the set of smartphones we are bringing into the country. Nigerians are looking for trusted and durable brand and that we have in Motorola and that also forms part of why we have returned to the market powerfully.”
At the launch of Freetel, a new Japanese smartphone in Nigeria, Vice President, International Sales, Freetel, Eugene Yoshioka, boasted of the phones ruggedness, saying the company would help Nigeria to deepen smartphone penetration.
Dana Motors Ignites a Green Revolution in Nigeria’s Auto Industry with CNG-Powered Vehicles
Dana Motors Limited, the exclusive distributor of Kia in Nigeria, is leading a groundbreaking charge to revolutionize the transportation landscape in the country.
In response to the escalating fuel prices and mounting vehicle-related expenses, Dana Motors Limited has unveiled ambitious plans to introduce Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles into the Nigerian market.
This strategic move underscores Dana Motors Limited’s unwavering dedication to innovation and sustainability within Nigeria’s automotive sector, effectively tackling the pressing need for more economical transportation options.
Having previously set a precedent by launching Nigeria’s inaugural electric vehicle, the Kia Soul, Dana Motors Limited is now poised to introduce an array of high-efficiency CNG-powered vehicles.
Francis Ogboro, Vice Chairman of the Group, passionately stated, “At Dana Motors Limited, our ultimate objective is to provide Nigerians with innovative, environmentally-friendly, and budget-conscious automotive solutions. The introduction of CNG-powered vehicles seamlessly aligns with our overarching vision to elevate the quality of life for all Nigerians, while simultaneously mitigating the surging costs associated with vehicle ownership.”
Further amplifying this commitment, Olu Tikolo, Vice President of Dana Motors Limited, emphasized, “Recognizing the transformative potential of CNG vehicles for public transportation, we are steadfast in our dedication to making transit more accessible and affordable. Through this visionary initiative, we aspire to elevate the overall quality of life for all Nigerians.”
The forthcoming launch of CNG-powered vehicles by Dana Motors Limited is poised to make substantial contributions to Nigeria’s emission reduction efforts, foster sustainability, and establish a more economical transportation system. Dana Motors Limited is not just leading but reshaping the trajectory of the Nigerian automotive industry, forging a greener, more cost-effective future for all.
Nigerian Autotech Startup, Fixit45, Secures $1.9 Million for East Africa Expansion
Nigerian autotech startup Fixit45 has successfully secured $1.9 million in equity and working capital to fuel its ambitious expansion plans into East Africa.
The funding round, spearheaded by Launch Africa Ventures, witnessed significant participation from notable investors, including Soumobroto Ganguly and Dave Delucia, alongside a diverse group of angel investors.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, Fixit45 underscored the significance of this capital infusion as a substantial stride towards broadening its footprint and influence within Africa’s thriving automotive aftermarket industry.
The company revealed that these funds have been earmarked to fuel its strategic expansion initiatives, with a particular emphasis on fortifying its automotive repair business.
Fixit45 also shared its unwavering commitment to enhancing its spare parts distribution capabilities through its online-to-offline platform, xparts.africa. With a keen eye on the East African market, Fixit45 has set its sights on Kenya and Uganda.
Co-founded by visionaries Chioma Ahueze-Okochukwu, Goodluck Ikporo, and Pankaj Bohhra, Fixit45 offers a unique platform that empowers car owners to seamlessly connect and engage with a vast network of aftermarket stakeholders.
This extensive network encompasses automobile service providers, specialized technical teams, spare parts suppliers, and end-consumers.
Pankaj Bohhra, one of the co-founders of Fixit45, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “This funding represents a pivotal moment for Fixit45. We are profoundly grateful to our investors for their faith in our vision and our unwavering commitment to revolutionizing the African automotive aftermarket sector. With this capital infusion, we are well-positioned to advance towards our expansion objectives.”
Fixit45’s strategic move into East Africa holds the promise of ushering in transformative developments in the automotive industry across the region.
As the company intensifies its efforts, the future of automotive repair and spare parts distribution in East Africa appears poised for a remarkable evolution. Stay tuned for more exciting updates as Fixit45 continues to make waves in the autotech sector.
Payday’s $3 Million Seed Round: From Hope to Headaches
Six months after securing $3 million in a seed round led by Moniepoint, Nigerian fintech startup Payday finds itself embroiled in controversy and uncertain about its future.
Founder and CEO, Favour Ori, confirmed that the company is actively engaged in discussions with potential buyers.
In March, reports surfaced that Moniepoint was in talks to acquire Payday, with an expected deal closure within three months. However, the deal fell through, reportedly due to Moniepoint’s board’s lack of enthusiasm. Despite this setback, negotiations to sell the company continue.
Payday faced a wave of negative publicity in August after suspending access to customer accounts following fraudulent activities that resulted in customer losses. The company was accused of misappropriating customer funds before acknowledging the account restrictions.
Internal issues further marred the company’s reputation, especially after Payday implemented contentious salary reductions for some Nigerian staff in July and failed to issue promised stock options to affected employees.
This led to dissatisfaction and several employee departures.
Payday’s COO, Ogechi Obike, also departed, citing goal misalignment and clashes with Favour Ori.
Accusations arose that Favour marginalized Obike in crucial meetings and decision-making processes.
Favour Ori’s management style came under scrutiny, with allegations of impulsiveness and a lack of transparency.
Employees claimed that he hired top talent but stifled their input, resulting in customer disruptions, including difficulties creating virtual cards and accessing accounts.
Amid these controversies, Favour Ori has reduced his involvement in the company, focusing on external work with GitHub while the co-founder, Elijah Kingson, is employed at Revolut.
Payday’s future remains uncertain, with the potential sale of the company and the need to regain customer trust and employee satisfaction hanging in the balance.
The company faces the challenge of restoring its reputation and stability while navigating a tumultuous period in its young history.
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