Acta Universitatis Danubius. Communicatio, Vol 10, No 1 (2016)

College Students and Smartphone Ownership: Symbolic meanings and Smartphone Consumption among Nigerian Students

Olusegun Fariudeen Liadi


The article aims to understand conception of Smartphones ownership among a sample of 65 Nigerian undergraduates aged 17-27years; and whether their construction of Smartphone ownership influences them to buy/carry one. A qualitative approach to data collection was adopted to elicit information among students of two federal (public) tertiary institutions in southwest region of Nigeria. The results show that Smartphone is not simply a technology for communication but, to a large extent, a social symbolic object for its carriers. Symbolic meanings are constructed and attached with Smartphone ownership beyond mere functional attributes. For my participants, carrying a Smartphone implies high-taste associated with ‘being cool’, trendy, wealthy. Many seem to believe only those with expensive taste could own Smartphones. This feeling was so strong that many would rather make friends with other Smartphone owners than be seen with students carrying regular phones. One of the themes that also emerged from participants’ narratives is pressure to fitting-in into groups that own Smartphone; which they say influence their purchase decision.


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