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App economy estimated at $120billion, but ATCON, ALTON fear Nigeria losing out to brain drain



App economy

2020 is the year of customers as COVID outbreak has made customers adopt mobile apps like never before.

From taking classes to attending office meetings, every task has been shifted online. By the time, the pandemic situation end people will adapt to the mobile app technology. So, with that, we can say that 2020 and beyond is the year of more customers.

The evaluation of mobile app consumer gross spending is to exceed $120 billion before 2020, according to Statista.

But, two Associations in the Nigerian telecoms and ICT space, the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and the Association of Licenced Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) have some worries over the increasing number of brain drains in the country.

The Association are therefore calling on the Federal Government of Nigeria through its agencies, and other relevant stakeholders, such as the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to take urgent steps to move the country away from a mono-economy by leveraging on the possibilities and benefits offered by the Internet and other ICT applications to grow the Nigerian economy.

ATCOn president

President of ATCON, Engr. Olusola Teniola

The President of ATCON, Teniola Olusola, who spoke at the first Nigerian Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA) webinar Innovation Tech Forum said if Nigeria does not diversify it would take the country a long time to recover from the impact of COVID 19 on the economy.

App revenue statistics

  • App revenue $50.1 billion worldwide on the App Store and Google Play in the first half of 2020. (Source – Sensor Tower)
  • Mobile game spending was up 21.2 per cent, contributing $36.6 billion on the App Store and Google Play Store. (Source – Sensor Tower)
  • Apple’s App Store generated an estimated $32.8 billion globally in 2020 (Source – Sensor Tower)
  • Google Play generated $17.3 billion globally in 2020 (Source – Sensor Tower)
  • The evaluation of mobile app consumer gross spending is to exceed $120 billion before 2020. (Source – Statista)
  • Tinder was the highest-grossing app with $433 million in spending in H1 2020.
  • Remote working Apps were highest in Global Download. Zoom accounted to $622.7 million in revenue in Q1 2020.
  • Consumer spends on Youtube were $431 million globally.
  • The mobile game spend for App store were up by 22.8% while for the Play store it is 27.3%
  • New Mobile game download recorded 28.5 billion first-time installs.
  • eMarketer predicts that total global digital ad spending will come to $333.25 billion in 2019 and $517.51 billion by 2023
  • Mobile ad spend figures published on Statista predict ad spend of $188 billion this year, increasing to $250 billion by 2021
  • The in-app advertising revenue expectation setting at $117.1 billion in 2020.
  • In the App Annie survey, 71% of respondents reported using a freemium model for games, compared for 52% for non-game apps


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According to Teniola, Nigeria needs to take steps to tap into the new money-spinner, which is the use of video platforms to run businesses and conduct interactions.

He argued that oil remittances can no longer sustain the Nigerian population, and government resorting to taxation to improve revenue base would not add much, except stakeholders work together to create a digital economy, shifting from the consumer market to production to achieve a balance of trade, instead of the current negative trade balance.

He further said there was a need to create appropriate skill sets and stem the increase in the brain drain of Nigerians youths, provide infrastructure to meet penetration gaps, and provide incentives for investment into the critical ICT industry. According to him, Nigerian needs to tweak the education system to encourage Science, Technology, Engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects.

Nodding in agreement, the Chairman of ALTON, Gbenga Adebayo said that a lot needs to be done to sustain the industry, the most critical factor in moving Nigeria forward in the post Covid19 era.


ALTON Chairman, Gbenga Adebayo

He observed that the current attitude of the section of the police force, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARs) which harasses Nigerian youths who own laptops was inimical to development in the ICT era.

The SARs action, he argued was contributing to the brain drain of Nigerian youths who are the ones to drive the digital economy. 

“There should be a deliberate effort to keep our talents, our young ones who are being harassed by SARS for owning laptops, who now leave for other countries where there is social security for their survival”, he said.

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He said there was a need for the telecom operators who are involved in developing the Nigerian ICT infrastructure to receive speedy approvals from government agencies so as to quicken the effort to bridge the penetration gap.

Adebayo also said that though some states have given very low right-of-way fees, in some case zero fees, they nevertheless are taking steps to derive maximum revenue from other areas, such as town planning fees, an act that is eroding the gains of the right of way fee reductions.