With one in every two Nigerians using at least a mobile phone as a means of communication and interaction, selling of phones and accessories has become a lucrative business.
This is because, virtually every mobile phone user would either need to replace an old phone, buy charger, phone casing, screen guard or memory card.
Hence, this is a brewing ground for an investor in phone sale business to make his money, even though, the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic on the shore of Nigeria has negatively affected the business, just like it has affected other ventures.
“Prior to COVID-19, with just N1 million, one can open a mobile phone and accessories shop; all it takes is to learn the trade from someone who has been in the phone selling business for a long time,” an android phone seller at Ojota, Lagos State, Mr Adebowale Mustapha said.
Explaining the intrigue of the business, Mustapha, says: “Some of us import phones and phone accessories from China. We also purchase second hand phones from some dealers based in Nigeria. Those of us who don’t have enough capital to import or buy directly from phone makers like Samsung or iPhones, can go to computer village in Lagos to buy phones and sell.”
He says he opened his mobile phone shop with N500,000 in 2015. All he did was to look for a shop at Ojota Bus stop, register his company with CAC and raise capital worth N500,000 to import phones. However, he said, currently a prospective investor will need over N1 million to open a standard mobile phone shop.
“Between 2015 and 2019, I was able to build my business from N500,000 to about N6 million. I made nothing less than N200,000 almost every week. The reason for that was because most Nigerians don’t use phone more than a year. Once the screen is cracked or broken, they quickly replace it,” he said.
Mustapha, however, lamented that phone selling business started to nosedive in the advent of COVID-19 pandemic. “A lot of Nigerians lost their jobs, people could barely eat three square meals per day. Nobody was interested in buying new phones,” he added.
In the advent of COVID-19, Mustapha says he could barely sell five new phones in months, adding that people now prefer to repair their old phones or buy fairly used phones.
“Since I mostly import phones from China, the new dollar rate has also affected my business. Presently, I can no longer import phones from China. I now purchase fairly used phones from computer village,” he said.