Nigeria is one of the most exciting frontiers for emerging technology usage. The country, known as the “giant of Africa,” shows up in headlines calling it “Africa’s unofficial tech capital,” and “the new economy of Africa.”
Latest Kaios Technologies research has revealed that many Nigerians fueling this rapid growth in the tech space actually under-utilize their technology.
Although, it was discovered that Nigerians show great interest in mobile devices and the internet, unfortunately they aren’t aware of the ways they can leverage technology to their advantage.
There’s a huge opportunity to help new users engage with technology and the internet in new ways, proving beneficial to both newly connected consumers and the key industry players that facilitate that connection.
According to the research, new users tend to learn about the internet from members of their local communities in an offline setting, which often leads to a narrow view of what the internet has to offer. For example, they might only hear about a few specific apps and have misconceptions about both the internet and how to access it.
The study conducted in seven Nigerian states gathered insights from a total of 48 retailers and 819 individuals shows that respondents were interested in owning a phone and having mobile internet, but were not fully aware of all the benefits and ways to use the internet.
82% respondents sees using an Internet-enabled phone as one of the ways to boost their social status and perception than the actual benefits.
Only 32% mentioned surfing the internet or using instant messaging apps as one of their top three phone uses. This suggests that internet usage is not yet a core daily activity in Nigerian households.
Limited experience with the internet often results in a narrow view of all it has to offer. We found that both urban and rural respondents who claimed to use the internet regularly still stuck to very basic online activities.
Nigerians in rural areas are even less likely to understand how mobile internet can benefit them personally even though they might have heard good things about the internet, but are yet to discover how to take advantage of all the benefits.
Mobile technology and internet can provide support in areas like health, education, and business. However, these uses are the least popular because new users are unaware of their potential value.
Analysts emphasized that industry players can engage new users by clearly stating how they can gain practical advantages from mobile internet.
Further findings disclosed that for some Nigerians, negative perceptions of the internet have kept them offline. Many new users struggle to differentiate between truthful and false news sites, so they stay away from online news altogether. Financial scams, mainly through WhatsApp, are also a major concern.
First-time internet users are often unaware of privacy settings, so they fear that having a phone will allow them to be tracked and easily found. This is especially dangerous for women, who worry that online harassers will be able to discover their location.
Experienced internet users in developed markets are quick to Google how to do something, but new users turn to people they know personally and feel they can trust. Unfortunately, this means new users only learn what their communities can teach them.
Most importantly, phones and data are also sometimes seen as communal. It’s not uncommon for families to share devices or for people to borrow phones to check social media or get online.
First-time users often have a limited understanding of how data packages are priced and how data is consumed, so they struggle to maintain consistent data usage.
This may also be why Nigerians use the internet “on demand”.
Lack of knowledge causes Nigerians to use their internet-enabled phones in a limited way. Without exposure to activities like downloading apps, setting up online accounts, using web browsers, or making video calls, new users never learn all the internet has to offer them.
The tech company also posited that limited network coverage and access to electricity are serious concerns for Nigerian consumers.
Limited network coverage has encouraged having have multiple SIM cards and practice “SIM swapping.”R
Nigeria is poised for increased mobile connectivity, but much work is still needed in user education to ensure people make the most of their internet access.
New users need to be persuaded to adopt mobile internet and will turn to their social circle for guidance. To convince an individual, start with the community.
Both urban and rural first-time users generally look for ways to use the internet in a way that benefits the community as a whole.
To reach a wider audience, advertisers can focus on promoting the internet not to the individual, but to the entire community. For example, newly connected Nigerians are more likely to respond to a pitch that presents WhatsApp as a tool for organizing church gatherings and sharing study materials as opposed to an app for chatting with friends.
Mobile carriers and shop owners can start at the source by helping customers set up privacy settings before they leave the store. Showing users how to block unwanted messages and remove explicit content from their social feeds helps them feel safer online.
Industry players should also consider leveraging free data to build data usage habits.
If mobile carriers invest in increasing network coverage and migrating 2G connections to 3G and 4G, they can gain a loyal customer base.
New users need ways to build their digital skills and expand their understanding of their phones and mobile internet. Staff should be trained and incentivized to teach new users the basic capabilities of internet-enabled
Creating “welcome packs” with pre-loaded guide video content appeals both to users with low literacy levels and to the data-conscious who may hesitate to use their data to look up guides.