DAILY INSIGHT: WHAT IS DRIVING NIGERIA’S FAST-GROWING DIGITAL ECONOMY?

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By the NCC’s estimate, Nigeria had 100.9million internet subscribers as at Feb-18. Compared with 435million internet users in Africa, according to Internet World Stats, Nigeria accounts for 23% share of Africa’s internet economy. In the social media space, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat are now predominantly the route to the market for comedians, make-up artistes, and other creative-industry operators.

The rapid increase in internet penetration (53% in 2017 vs. 0.1% in 2001) is driven by fast smartphones adoption in Nigeria with 71% internet access via mobile phones. Thanks to the influx of affordable but low spec smartphones, between 2011 and 2016, smartphone users surged from 4million to 15million. According to Jumia, Nigeria’s leading ecommerce platform, affordable brands such as Infinix, Tecno, Innjoo, Gionee, Xiaomi, Huawei, Samsung and Yezz, top smartphone sales by brands.

Additionally, improved network coverage, investment in fiber optics and deployment of data infrastructure (2G/3G to 4G data services) is supporting broadband penetration and data access. The cost of data services is also getting cheaper, thanks to increased competition and regulatory oversight. Interestingly, high low spec smartphone usage has increased the preference for data-efficient browsers with Opera Mobile browser more popular among Nigerians compared to Google Chrome. 41% of the mobile traffic on Jumia comes via Opera vs. 50% via Google Chrome for the rest of Africa.

UNITED CAPITAL NIGERIA

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