Low Purchasing Power: Nigerians Go For Swapping As Prices Of Mobile Phones Rise 

Nigerians no longer worry over what the state of the nation will look like tomorrow. Everyone is now focused on how to survive in the failing economy.

It is no longer news that people’s purchasing powers have continued to decrease, as prices of goods and services continue to rise, unabated.

The continuous rise has affected the prices of everything, including mobile phones.

Nigerians, who formally loved using two to three expensive phones, have reduced their choice to one.

Economy&Lifestyle found out that as the situation gets worse, people now have to swap their old phones for new ones.

Explaining how it is done, Evans Ofili, a manager at a phone and electronic gadget store in Igando, said: “The process of phone swapping is not tedious. All a customer needs to do is bring an old phone and the receipt of purchase and a valid means of identification. We assess the phone by testing the battery power and other parts to know its present value. Then the customer is to add a little amount of money to get his choice phone.

“For instance, if his phone of choice is worth N100,000 and the value of his old phone is N50,000. He is to pay N50,000 in addition to the old phone to get the new one.”

Phone swapping has been in existence but was not practiced intensively by Nigerians.

Old phones are usually given out to their loved ones after buying a new one.

“People no longer buy new phones nowadays. What they do now is phone swapping.

“We also do this to increase sales as people are now very interested in feeding, and other things come after.

“The old phones are repaired and swapped with other phones too”, Ofili said.

Mr. Jeremiah Santos, a Manager at a phone hub in Egbeda , said that apart from swapping, phone sellers now sell phones on credit.

He explained: “ Apart from mobile phone swapping that is now rampant, most phone sellers now sell phones on credit.

“They have an Installment payment scheme with a particular brand of phone. The customer might sign up for full payment of the mobile phone in three or six months.

“This comes with interest as low as 4 per cent.

“A down payment of 20-25 per cent of the device value is made depending on the seller.

“When there is a default in completing payment at the agreed date, the customer pays a 2 per cent or more default fee.

“It is what the economy has put us phone sellers into. Such strategies also help us increase sales and patronage.

“The money spent on importing these phones is also increasing. From charges at the ports, dollar rate, logistics among other things.

“We are also struggling just like our customers.”

Investigations revealed that the current prices of most popular phone brands have increased.

The price of phones of brands like Samsung, Infinix, Nokia, Techno, Microsoft, Xiaomi Redmi and Itel phones with smaller gigabytes of Read Only Memory (ROM) and Read Access Memory (RAM) with low or medium battery power ranges from N70,000 to N90,000.

Those with higher ROM and RAM goes for N150,000 above which were sold at N70,000 before.

Mrs. Demilade Raymond, a salary earner, said she swapped her Techno pop 5 for a higher grade last month.

“My old phone, Techno Pop 5 , had little space. Most times it hangs whenever I don’t relieve it from large documents it stores.

“I have been using the phone for almost three years.

“The manager at the phone store where I did the swapping said the phone series was highly sought after by some people.

“He valued the phone at N30,000. I was asked to add N70,999 to get the new model of my choice.

“At least I have a new phone now and spend less.”

Mr. Daniel Apata, a mechanic said he swapped his android phone for a non android phone (“Palasa or torchlight phone” as it is popularly called).

“When I visited the phone store, I requested to swap my android phone for another thinking I will just add N20,000 to get a new phone.

“But I was surprised when my old phone was valued at N20,000.

“I had no choice but to swap for a non android phone by adding N5,000.

“It is better than nothing.”

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