Did you know that the number of mobile phone (or cell phone) subscribers in Kenya hit 32 million in mid-2014 and surpassed? Yes, according to The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) the number of mobile phone users in Kenya were more than 32.2 million in 2014. This number must be much higher in 2015.According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), Kenya’s mobile handset market recorded year-on-year volume growth of 21.5% in the first quarter of 2014. It is obvious that the demand for cell phones in Kenya in general has been overwhelming and most people did not anticipate this, yet the trend continues to develop. The tremendous growth of mobile phones has seen almost every Kenyan own at least a handset.
Many entrepreneurs have recognized this growth as an opportunity to make money. A number of them have opened up shops to sell mobile phones and accessories such as batteries, chargers, cables, power banks etc. Today we want to urge you to consider this as a business idea that you can implement. With this demand, mainly driven by new users, lost or damaged phones, upgrading and many other reasons, you can be sure to make money and grow your business.
Many mobile phone dealers now import phones and accessories from Dubai, Japan and China for sale locally. Importing these mobile phones and their accessories will be much cheaper especially if buying in bulk. If you are starting small or if you are not very comfortable importing your own stock, there are wholesale shops along Cross Road in downtown Nairobi where you can buy mobile phones and accessories at wholesale prices. A number of the people who sell mobile phones also buy from these shops at wholesale prices.
In this business, your capital requirement will highly depend on the types of phones and accessories you start with and whether you import directly or buy your stocks locally. However with about Ksh300,000 – ksh700,000, you can set up a good shop with a decent stock for a start.
Many mobile phone shops are located in town, but you can still choose a location that is suitable such as a busy shopping centre. Many of those who set up in town prefer the exhibition stalls which have become very popular for various businesses. These stalls are cheaper than other shops and already have many shoppers frequenting them.
Rents for these stalls vary very much. Depending on factors such as building, street, size, design, location and others, rents can range from Ksh11,000 – Ksh20,000. There are others which go for much higher rents depending also on the above factors. Many building owners ask for goodwill for these spaces so make sure you confirm that.
You will need a business permit for your business from the county government costing about Ksh15,000 per year.
The following are the most common and therefore more popular types of mobile phones in kenya. If you set up a mobile phones business, make sure you stock these makes;
There are many others and various models of the above phones. Smartphones or touch screen phones have become very popular in Kenya due to their capabilities and user interfaces. Ensure you stock more of these in your mobile phone business.
The average prices of these phones vary very much but these are sampled wholesale prices in Nairobi.
- Samsung Ksh1,800 – Ksh80,000
- Nokia Ksh1,000 – Ksh80,000
- Alcatel Ksh1,000 – Ksh55,000
- Infinix as from Ksh8,000
- Itel Ksh1,000 – Ksh20,000
- Techno Ksh1,500 – Ksh76,000
Different models will have different prices depending on features, capacity, design and so on. On the above wholesale prices, you can aim to make a profit of about Ksh 500 to Ksh1,000 or even above on each phone depending on popularity and price. On others, you can make as much as Ksh2,000 and above. For example, if you buy Samsung J1 at ksh9,000 wholesale, it can retail at about ksh11,000, making a profit of Ksh2,000.
In addition to mobile phone handsets, you can also stock other accessories such as chargers, batteries, headsets etc. The wholesale prices of these accessories range as follows;
- Headsets Ksh50 – Ksh150
- Batteries Ksh150 – ksh450 depending on phone type and battery make.
- Power banks ksh1500
- USB cables Ksh300
These are just some of the accessories although there are many others. The batteries can sell for between Ksh200 – Ksh750 while a power bank can sell for a minimum of Ksh2,000 while headsets at Ksh150 – ksh300, just to mention a few. All these prices will vary from these figures depending on model, design, make, country of origin and other market dynamics. From the above, your profit on these accessories will range from about Ksh100 – ksh500 per item depending on which accessory you sell and at what price.
With the current demand for mobile phone handsets and accessories in Kenya, this is a business that you can consider to invest in. With enough capital investment and thorough survey of the market, you will be in a position to identify the most popular phone makes and concentrate on these, although it is safer to stock a wide variety. You can also include others such as tablets, USB flash drives, memory cards and mobile phone covers to boost your income and attract more customers.
In mobile phone business, it is very important to keep updated on the changes in the market. Research and development (R&D) has resulted in rapid changes and innovations in the mobile phone technology. Many changes are taking place and if you are in this business, keep abreast with these developments otherwise you will be left holding out of date and unpopular mobile phones which will not sell easily.