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  • A third (34%) have paid to increase their data package.
  • Almost half (45%) of respondents buy more than 2GB of data per month
  • Most buy more data to download apps (64%) and watch video (52%)
  • 73% use messaging apps because they are perceived to be free/cheap
  • 60% of respondents have made a purchase with their mobiles in the last 6 months.

A new survey carried out by MEF in association with Etisalat Nigeria identifies apps, music and video as the biggest drivers for the increase in mobile data spending.

MEF ‘s study of the behaviours and attitudes of 1,000 Nigerian smartphone users showed that 45% of respondents already buy more than 2GB of Data per month.  When consumers pay to increase their data bundle, it is mainly to consume more mobile apps (64%) and content such as video (52%) and music (31%).

While there is clear appetite for extra data, nearly half of respondents surveyed (48%) still expect mobile content to be free. Cost is also a major factor in messaging, with73% turning to messaging apps over SMS because they are perceived to be free or cheaper. At the same time, a significant percentage (29%) value the extra functionality provided by these services, with WhatsApp (73%) dominating chat apps in Nigeria.

The research also reveals future opportunities outside of apps and entertainment. mLearning (48%) and reading apps (34%) both perform well in Nigeria. 45% of respondents said they have used banking apps demonstrating growing trust in this sector.  Healthcare is found to have the highest future potential according to the mobile media users studied (34%) alongside localised services such as taxi apps (33%) and food delivery (32%).

“The growth of the mobile ecosystem from more established areas like entertainment and messaging to the uptake of health, reading, transport and foods apps, along with the uptake of mCommerce and banking is encouraging and demonstrates the continued rise of the mobile economy in Nigeria”, said Rimma Perelmuter, MEF’s CEO. “While the report shows strong growth in data consumption with 34% purchasing additional data, it also highlights that nearly three quarters of respondents (73%) are still held back from downloading popular services such as video & using more apps due to a lack of trust.

In order for the mobile opportunity to truly take off, not only do the networks need to continue to improve their service, but data and pricing models need to be more affordable, transparent and better understood.  This study shows that where this is the case, consumers are more willing to pay for content and services as long as the value is clear.”

“The diversity in consumers’ usage is encouraging but a key enabler that drives usage is the use case”, said Adia Sowho, Director, Digital Business at Etisalat. “What localized use cases should emerge next as the existing content and financial services mature? The MEF study tells us where opportunity has been captured, can be deepened and in some cases, is untouched”.

The report also highlights some challenges facing the Nigerian market. Trust is still perceived as an issue with 44% seeing it as preventing them from doing more with their phone and bandwidth issues or costs (47%) also seem to be holding the market back.

In addition, almost half (47%) of the respondents receive unsolicited SMS everyday compared to the global average of 28%. Chat apps do not fare much better with 38% of Nigerian respondents receiving unsolicited messages daily compared to the global average of 26%.

Despite this, the research reveals that at last the mobile banking sector appears to be gaining momentum in Nigeria with almost 68% of smartphone who hold bank accounts or own credit cards participating in some form of mobile banking. Nearly half (45%) reported using a banking app and 27% do their banking via USSD indicating that the banks’ intensive marketing campaigns are starting to pay off.

One Comment

  • Leo says:

    Thanks for the report, it is really useful to know the numbers. It is great that technologies keep growing in developing countries. Actually, the stats are even similar to the worldwide trends. For example, reportssay that 75% of mobile users use messenger apps.
    However it is a pity that you do not provide any stats for app development. You say that more than 60% of Nigerians made purchases on mobile. But in order to purchase something there have to be a mobile retailer to buy from. For example, in UK 80% of retailers have mobile offerings, as you can see here. What is the number in Nigeria? And what about mobile development? Is it in demand? I know that there are not enough money to develop cool quality apps that can enter the worldwide scene, but you can easily make a simple app with minimal features for a low cost, as they say here. It is very interesting for me as an app developer to see such stats.