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86% of smartphone users in Nigeria are on Android — Report  

Key highlights

  • The Nigeria Smartphone Study by ORBIT shows that most Nigerians use Android phones 
  • It also reveals that WhatsApp and Facebook are the most-used apps by Nigerians 
  • Chinese brands, Tecno, and Infinix are dominating the mobile market in Nigeria 
  • Access Bank leads in banking apps usage 

A report by Orange Business Intelligence Technology (ORBIT), the research and tech unit of Orange Group Nigeria, has revealed that 86% of smartphone users in Nigeria are using Android phones. The report is the product of a Smartphone and Application Penetration Study conducted in Q4 2022 in 12 cities across Nigeria. 

The report further shows that 13% are on IOS, while only 1% are using smartphones with Windows Operating System.  

The study, which sought to assess smartphone trends and ascertain which apps were being used with smartphones in Nigeria, also shows that the most used smartphone brand in Nigeria is Tecno. This was followed by Inifinix, another brand from the Chinese Transsion Group, while iPhone came 3rd in terms of the number of users.

Apps usage: According to the report, a total of 8,578 respondents, or 64% of respondents, had smartphones, with hundreds of various apps downloaded.  

  • To streamline the analysis, 51 apps that were commonly downloaded were shortlisted. From these shortlisted apps, researchers further segmented them into 19 Global apps and 32 Regional apps, with Regional apps referring to those with a primary market in Africa,” ORBIT stated in the report. 

Global apps: In terms of global apps used by Nigerians, the report shows that WhatsApp and Facebook were the most downloaded with over 90% penetration. Xender, a file-sharing app that allows users to share large files and synchronize smartphone applications with other users offline came as the third most used. The app enables users to share content without spending money on data.  

Regional apps: Boomplay, a music streaming and download app owned by Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Transsion Holdings, ranked number one in this category. Jumia came second, while Opay and Palmpay emerged 3rd and 4th respectively.  

  • Most Transsion smartphones (Techno, Infinix & Itel) are purchased with Boomplay already installed. Therefore, given the high market share of Transsion smartphones in Nigeria (62% market share), it’s understandable that Boomplay is highly salient.  
  • OPay and PalmPay are both Chinese-owned fintech apps. OPay, also known as Operapay, became popular in 2018, offering steep discounts on its ride-hailing platform before focusing on fintech. PalmPay is a joint venture between Transsion and Netease, and similar to Boomplay, comes preinstalled in most Transsion smartphones,” the report explained. 

Banking apps: In terms of bank apps, the report shows that Access Bank, UBA, and GTBank are the study set’s top 3 most salient banking apps. Access Bank remains Nigeria’s largest bank, with a total of $17.7 billion in assets and just under 50 million customers.  

What you should know: According to Statista, the number of smartphone users in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy and most populous country, is forecasted to grow to more than 140 million by 2025, amounting to 66% smartphone penetration. This would be a rapid increase from the 2021 penetration rate of 19.7% and would place Nigeria as the 9th country in the world with the highest number of smartphones. With such a large young population and high future smartphone penetration, Nigeria’s tech ecosystem has become quite active and vibrant. 

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