For Daniel Okechi, a 37 years old phone dealer, who sell fairly-used smartphones at computer Village Ikeja, getting quick access to fairly-used smartphones has been easy for him and many others in the same business line with him, due to the presence of friends or relations in the US, who assists them in registering and sorting for sellers on Amazon or EBay.
Fairly-used smartphones, which some refer to as UK-used phones, have dominated the Nigerian smartphone market over the years and have also generated numerous patronage because of the discount prices when compared to brand new, according to experts.
However, narrating how he usually gets a quick purchase of fairly-used smartphones, Daniel said, “For me, I have a cousin residing in the US who makes the purchase easier for me and the same thing is applicable to most of us here in the market. He goes to the Amazon website or EBay and registers. Amazon is a US website and you need US details for you to access it and that’s why we don’t login directly. Once he registered on Amazon, he applied the same on EBay where he now looks for sellers that want to sell phones, which is easy to find on the app. Amazon and EBay are like JiJi, where they deal with third party products (a platform where buyers meet sellers). So after he successfully registered on the platform, he can now sort out for the particular phone I want to buy online and someone that wants to sell will now go into negotiation and discussions with him.”
According to Daniels, after discussions and negotiation, a third party known as the picker will now come in and help process and send to Nigeria where it will be cleared and get to the stalls.
“So after negotiation, a picker comes in and there are so many companies that run delivery businesses in the US who will now process the pick-up and delivery. What the buyer now does here is to provide him with the details of the person you are transacting with online; they now go there and pay in cash. The pickers will now take it to the shipping company who now ships the phone directly to Nigeria,” Daniel said.
He explained that most of these sellers online are individual sellers who either decide to sell their smartphone for a new one or because of a little fault or crack, where the second hand buyer will now fix the faulty phone and place it for resale at a fairly-used price. The phone dealer also added that, “most of them are also selling in bulk as a permanent business and delivers any quantity you need according to your money and negotiations with them and most of us patronise the bulky sellers because we are also selling to different types of people.”
Similarly, another phone dealer at computer village Ikeja who pleaded to remain anonymous said,” There are a lot of sources where our people get access to UK-used smartphones. Most of us do go online, register on EBay or Amazon, then start searching for smartphone sellers. When they get in touch with a seller and reach a certain agreement depending on the products you want, you will now pay and it will get delivered to you. Then when most of them have developed such business relationships online, after subsequent transactions they will now exchange contact and start personal business through WeChat or Whatsapp or direct message transaction with them, where they don’t need to go through Amazon or Ebay again and the process might be cheaper and faster.”
He also disclosed that most dealers already have relations over there in the United Kingdom and US, who work there and know about the business, that now help them cross check the quality and import to Nigeria.
The phone dealer also stated that there are other sources which he will not be able to disclose due to confidential reasons. He said,” There are other sources which are key to our business that I will not be able to explain. Although it’s not a bad source, we just keep it to ourselves as our personal business strategy and secret.”
On the other side, Macdon Ulor, a Nigerian phone dealer disclosed that most foreigners prefer selling their smartphone to Nigerians and Africans residing mostly in the UK and US when it develops any minor fault.
“The cost of fixing up a faulty phone abroad especially in the UK or US is quite expensive and some prefer selling it out immediately to our Nigerian and African brothers there. That is why if the IPhone 14 is launched today, there is a tendency that you will see it in the Nigerian UK-Used market in the next few weeks. They don’t like using faulty products especially smartphones and they are aware that our Nigerian brothers have a fairly-used market where they resale it at a cheaper rate,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ulor also explained that pre-used phones are mostly ordered on EBay, adding that both Amazon and Apple stores mostly deal with direct brand new, especially iPhone products.