A recent interaction by The Mirror with phone sellers revealed that the ‘yam’ is experiencing high patronage due to its affordability and user-friendly nature, particularly among those who are not technologically savvy.
Despite the prevalence of modern mobile technology, traders reported a growing market demand for the “yam”.
According to the phone sellers, customers are drawn to it as a spare phone because of its impressive battery lifespan and supportive features.
A phone seller with 19 years of experience at Circle, who gave his name as Obeng, said both the illiterate and elite customers contribute to the high sales of ‘yam’ phones, making it one of the leading products in the market.
Another phone seller, Kwashie, highlighted the profitability of ‘yam’ phones, noting that while phone covers, batteries, and dashboards are lucrative, the ‘yam’ is the primary source of income, with potential sales of up to 10 phones per day.
The term “yam” refers to non-smartphones from the era preceding the widespread use of smartphones. It is called “yam” because it lacks certain features of modern mobile devices. The price of “yam” phones typically ranges between GH¢80 and GH¢300.
Market dynamics at Circle
The Mirror explored the phone market at Circle, which has grown into Ghana’s phone hub.
Formerly known for drinking bars and nightclubs, particularly Tip-Toe lane, the area is now dominated by phone shops and accessory businesses.
The space has witnessed significant growth, with mobile phone sellers setting up tables beneath staircases and numerous phone repairers engaged in their work or lively discussions on national issues.
The Mirror observed challenges such as congestion and the potential for unsuspecting individuals to be swindled by roadside vendors posing as phone sellers.
The Secretary of the Circle Phone Sellers Association, Appiah Ampofo, cautioned against dealing with roadside sellers and stressed on the importance of purchasing from established shops to ensure guarantees and after-sales support.
Some of the phone sellers raised concerns about the high cost of renting shops and spaces, leading some to resort to hawking.
The Mirror learnt that sellers were required to pay GH¢2,500 annually for a small space in front of a shop, and the cost could increase based on the number of years.
Some sellers cited these expenses as influencing their decision to operate in more affordable areas such as the roadside.