Exporting to Nigeria: A guide to the emerging market

Idemudia Dima-Okojie
Idemudia Dima-Okojie
7 min read
facebook sharing button
twitter sharing button
linkedin sharing button
Smart Share Buttons Icon Share

Although not yet classed as a ‘developed’ country, Nigeria is already Africa’s largest economy by GDP. It is the world’s 31st-largest economy, and it continues to grow(1).

The country has one of the best network coverages in Africa, and high internet penetration – so it’s no surprise the e-commerce market there is expanding. This is presenting opportunities for businesses just like yours – all you need is an international shipping partner and you’ll be ready to cash in!

Read on as we explore how to export to Nigeria, including the consumer insights and market trends that will help you succeed.

223 million people

Nigeria has the largest population in Africa (2), and one of the youngest worldwide (3).

3.3% GDP growth

3.3% growth in 2022 (4). Nigeria’s economy has been unsettled in recent years, but the outlook now looks good with growth of around 3% forecast through to 2028 (5).

76.7 million online shoppers

In 2020, the number of online buyers in Nigeria was around 76.7 million (6). This makes the country one of Africa’s most competitive e-commerce markets (7).

graphic image tech assets

Rising internet usage

As of 2023, the internet penetration rate in Nigeria is 40.72%. This is set to rise to 48.11% by 2027 (8).

18.6 median age

Nigeria has a very young population. The median age is 18.6 (9). Compare this to Europe’s median age of 44.4 (10).

7% of retail is online

Nigeria has one of Africa’s highest ratios of online retail sales. 7% of all purchases made in Nigeria in 2021 were online – more than South Africa, Kenya, Morocco, and Egypt (11).

11.82% e-commerce growth

Nigeria’s e-commerce market is valued at US$7.63 billion; by 2028 this will reach 13.34 billion, a CAGR rate of 11.82% (12).


Nigeria’s most popular online marketplaces

As of 2020, Jumia was the most popular online marketplace for physical goods, with an estimated 147 million annual visitors. The company is based in Nigeria and operates across a number of African countries.  

Other popular online marketplaces in Nigeria in that year were Jiji (primarily a second-hand trading site) and Konga (general products) (13). 

Most popular categories for online purchases in Nigeria, as of March 2023 (14)

(*% of respondents who had purchased from that category in the previous 12 months)

Preferred payment methods for online purchases  

Only 1.6% of the Nigerian population have a credit card (15), and cash payments are still very common (16). Despite this, card payments are the most popular form of online payment.

Growing use of cashless payment systems

Use of digital payment solutions is rising in Nigeria. Mobile payment platforms like Interswitch, Flutterwave, and Paystack, as well as traditional card payments, are becoming more widely accepted, providing alternatives to cash transactions. 

Nigeria’s biggest shopping events 

Nigeria, being a culturally diverse and multi-religious country, experiences a multitude of celebrations throughout the year.

Black Friday in Nigeria is a major shopping event in November. Retailers offer significant discounts and promotions, both online and in-store, attracting eager shoppers looking for deals on a wide range of products. 

Jumia, a prominent e-commerce platform in Nigeria, hosts an extensive Black Friday Festival, featuring flash sales, discounts, and exclusive deals on various products, encouraging online shoppers to take advantage of the savings. 

Leading up to Christmas, Nigeria experiences a peak in shopping activities as people purchase gifts, decorations, and festive items, with retailers offering special promotions and sales to cater to the holiday demand. 

During Ramadan, Nigerians shop for new clothing, gifts, and food to celebrate Eid-al-Fitr with loved ones. 

Valentine's Day sees increased spending in Nigeria as consumers seek gifts, flowers, and special treats for their loved ones. 

As the start of the school year approaches in Nigeria, retailers launch back-to-school sales offering discounts on school supplies, uniforms, and educational materials to help parents prepare for the new academic session. 

Around Nigeria's Independence Day on October 1st, retailers may offer patriotic-themed promotions and discounts, enticing shoppers to celebrate the national holiday by making purchases at discounted prices. 

During the Easter season, Nigerians buy festive items, gifts, and food. Retailers offer sales and promotions to meet the holiday demand. 

Customs and import regulations for exporting to Nigeria

5 to 35% import tax

The full list of tariffs applicable to each shipment type can be found here.  

  • Make sure you have clear documentation 
    Failure to provide accurate and complete clearance documents can result in delays or even refusal of shipment pickup (e.g., Custom’s Clearing Instructions, Tax ID) 

  • Beware of inspection delays 
    Mandatory customs inspections sometimes affect delivery times 

  • Local regulatory bodies 
    Other Local regulatory bodies also conduct inspections which also affects transit times (e.g. NDLEA Nigeria’s drug enforcement agency, and NAFDAC the food and drug agency). 

Exporting to Nigeria: Official Customs website

Nigeria Customs Service (NCS)

Comprehensive information on import/export procedures, tariffs, and regulations. 


DHL’s expert tips for exporting to Nigeria

  • Understand Nigeria’s trading environment . Nigeria operates within a complex regulatory environment, characterized by stringent customs procedures and import/export regulations. It is crucial you know what you need to export to Nigeria successfully.  

  • Partner with a reliable logistics provider .To avoid disappointed customers, you need a partner with the necessary expertise in navigating Nigeria's intricate customs rules and import/export procedures. 

  • Try influencer marketing. Influencer marketing has gained traction in Nigeria, with social media influencers collaborating with brands to promote products and drive sales. Influencers have a significant impact on consumer purchasing decisions, particularly among younger demographics. 

  • Think about locally sourced made-in-Nigeria items. There has been a growing trend of supporting local businesses and products, with consumers showing increased interest in purchasing locally sourced and made-in-Nigeria products. This trend is driven by a desire to promote local industries and stimulate economic growth.

  • Offer sustainable products. Nigerian consumers are becoming more conscious about sustainability and ethical practices. There is a growing interest in eco-friendly, organic, and socially responsible products, with consumers seeking brands that align with their values. 

Get started with DHL 

We can help you start exporting to Nigeria. To make it easier for you to get your shipments through customs, we offer a free Global Trade Services Toolkit

You can also figure out total shipping costs, including duties, taxes and other import fees, using our Landed Cost Calculator.

Thinking of exporting to Nigeria?

You’re in the right place! We know that the above guidelines may seem a little overwhelming, but that’s where partnering with DHL will pay off. As international shipping experts, we’ll support you through all customs procedures so that your shipment avoids delays. Sell to the world with DHL!

Start your journey here