THE REPLACEMENT MARKET

Any bar talk that involves men will generally focus on women, where to get the next extra shilling and of course gadgets cars and machines. My friend Edward has hard the same mobile phone for three years now. Just when he was thinking of getting a new one he left it or forgot it at the counter of his local pub. Now he is shopping.

Patrick on the other hand is using an entry-level phone but wants to hand it down to his son. He is looking for gadget that has access to the internet can connect to his lap top – basically a tool that works for his busy life style.

Over the next year or two close to fifty percent of customers in the mobile telephony market in Kenya and the Middle East and African region will be replacing their phones from their first second or third sets.

According to Loren Shuster VP Sales – Nokia Africa ‘the replacement market is becoming a major component in mobile phone sales especially in Kenya and Africa where 50% are changing phones while at the same time close to 50% is yet to be connected’

Such is the expected potential of this market that mobile phone makers are looking to this grow sector of the population. Take for example of Kenya where about 300,000 kids leave high school. About half this number will be getting a new mobile phone as graduation gift.

With majority of the youth with some knowledge about the World Wide Web, devices that have WAP become very attractive to this people. Recent studies show that many of the youth in Kenya now spend about on average over 15 minutes in every hour with their phones. Texting, playing games, exchanging files and now surfing the net.

Compared to the personal computer market mobile phone penetration in Africa will be faster especially when you consider cost. Alex Lambeek VP Entry Category for Nokia says that ‘the fact that mobile phones are more affordable and spread across markets in Africa and emerging markets penetration will be far greater than the PC ever was’.

Imagine this that currently there are about two million registered customers of M-Pesa and you have not factored the users of Soko Tele. This means that a greater majority of mobile users in Kenya are exploring and using more features of the mobile phone than ever before. With this number in mind replacement phones with better and more facilities will greatly be appreciated by the more frugal customers who are more and better devices that will readily use the many products that the mobile networks are now offering.

Currently there are 6 million Kenyans with bank accounts this has taken forty years, now M-Pesa are riding on a membership of 2 million customers transferring an average of 100 million bob in a day. Imagine what the new replacement phones will do to Kenya and the African market.

With the fast 3G network now rolled out, consumers in Kenya whether first time or on replacement are now looking for more features that will help or truly make their lives mobile.

To Patrick and Edward – get a new phone I have an email you need to read.