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Nigerians Spend Big Bucks on Shopping in London | CNN’s Marketplace Africa Spotlights the Rising Influence of the Nigerian Shopper



It’s the month of January, one of the peaks of the retail sales season  in London and Nigerians are amongst the leading pack of top spenders.

Below is the article from CNN

Shopping is a serious business in London whatever the season — but it doesn’t get much more serious than this time of year.

The UK capital’s January sales sees throngs of dedicated shopaholics cram its countless department stores, quirky boutiques and market stalls, keen to get their hands on the latest fashion trends and product offers.
But it’s not just domestic spend that’s keeping the tills ringing in London. While the vibrant city’s high-end stores are no strangers to overseas visitors, with those from the Middle East typically spending the most, a surprising new contender has emerged in recent times as a big spender in the international market — Nigeria.

Africa is growing from strength to strength and particularly in the last 12 to 18 months we’ve seen Nigeria come through incredibly strongly,” explains Sue West, director of operations at up-market London department store Selfridges.

It is a very broad base so we still very much have a strong Chinese base, a strong Middle East base, Russia is there, the BRICs nations as you imagine, but Nigeria seems to be coming through very strongly at the moment as well,” she adds.

The former British colony is Africa’s most populous nation as well as the continent’s top oil producer. According to African Economic Outlook (AEO), Nigeria’s economic growth has averaged about 7.4% annually over the past decade, creating a wealthier Nigerian elite with a large spending power. At the same time, however, AEO says that robust economic growth has not reduced poverty in the country, with about two thirds of its population living on less than $1 per day.

Home to a large African diaspora, the UK is a popular travel destination for Nigerians visiting friends and relatives, going on holidays or conducting business.
Daily flights between Nigeria and the UK have increased in recent years, with airlines such as British Airways allowing Nigerian customers an additional 23kg of baggage free of charge.

They’re getting on a plane and coming to London to buy things they cannot immediately find in Nigeria.

According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics, some 142,000 Nigerians visited the UK in 2011, spending an average £107 ($172) per day. From January to September last year, Nigeria’s tax-free spend in the UK grew by 11% year on year, according to tourism services provider Global Blue.

The trend has not gone unnoticed by UK retailers, some of which have responded by tailoring their offerings to their growing Nigerian customer base.
More recently we’re starting to introduce a lot more niche brands,” says West. “We’ve worked in collaboration with some very popular Nigerian brands,” she adds. “I think it’s not only important to demonstrate we can bring the big brands such as Louis Vuitton and Chanel, but we can also really appeal to more of a niche market too.

One such collaboration helping Selfridges further engage with its growing number of Nigerian customers is its recent team-up with Style House Files.
The Lagos-based fashion company has just opened an installation inside Selfridges, giving Nigerian designers a chance to widen their market and showcase their creations outside the West African country.

Omoyemi Akerele, director of Style House Files, says that Nigeria is an emerging market, with Nigerians are among the five biggest spenders at the department store.
Akerele argues the collaboration is a win-win situation for both parties.
This will give our designers a platform, an opportunity for their pieces to be in Selfridges, that’s a dream come true,” says Akerele. “For Selfridges, on the other hand, it would endear their Nigerian customers — and not just Nigerian customers, African in general — more to the brand.

Akerele says that although the reality in Nigeria is that most people live in poverty, the rise of sectors such as telecommunications and the diversification of the Nigerian economy beyond oil and gas has created an emerging middle class with bigger spending power.
Their earning capacity is increasing and they’re spending on more things and not just the basic food and clothing,” she explains. “They’re getting on a plane and coming to London to buy things they cannot immediately find in Nigeria.
From CNN


More in the video below:

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at


  1. linabella

    January 22, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    “Their earning capacity is increasing and they’re spending on more things and not just the basic food and clothing. They’re getting on a plane and coming to London to buy things they cannot immediately find in Nigeria.”

    I dont know what others might think of that statement above, but i find it sad, sad because we have so many investors and so many opportunity to create a market that carries those things that is found abroad, so that those cash will stay in nigeria and not keep leaving our shores.

    • Ready

      January 23, 2013 at 8:52 am

      Cash has to leave the country. It’s basic behavioral economics…people want to leave their shores, try new things. It’s not a reprimand of the country, it’s just life. Why else would Americans, Europeans, and wealthy Middle Easterns from Kuwait and co leave their country despite the immense markets in there? Something is off about the comment, but I don’t think the sad feeling is appropriate.

    • nma

      January 23, 2013 at 10:10 am

      Ready UAE is, an exmple that basic behavioural economics don’t work. T

    • 2-D

      January 23, 2013 at 3:43 pm

      What sort of behavioural economics? Purchasing power in Nigeria has increased overtime because of the free money in the system. Things are overpriced because the 30% above poverty line have so much to spend on frivolities. That 30% (45million) is the population of South Africa. Thats enough to qualify Nigerias economy as growing. Is it a good thing to have 3 very rich and 7 poorly poor siblings under one roof? That is why the middle class is shrinking and poverty rate increasing as well. The nouveau riche has binge for wasteful and senseless spending as they mostly became overnight millionaires. They can afford to go to UK to buy night gown and come back to sleep with it in Naija. So much voodoo economics in Nigeria. The oil wealth is misleading us to believe our economy is growing. This growth is highly unsustainaible!

    • annie

      January 24, 2013 at 1:00 pm

      I agree with your comment entirely.

  2. Omonike Odi

    January 22, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    “Their earning capacity is increasing and they’re spending on more things and not just the basic food and clothing. They’re getting on a plane and coming to London to buy things they cannot immediately find in Nigeria.”

    Hmmm….not sure what but there is something about that comment that just irkes me. Omoyemi Akerele, this is obviously not a complimentary comment or I would have felt pride, it is also not a complete insult afterall the middle class is growing in earning power but Nigerians have been spending on more things and getting on a plane for a long time and food and clothing being basic was stone years ago!
    #iblog @

  3. Dprodigaldaughter

    January 22, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    I’m no sure if this is necessarily a good thing or a bad thing. …

  4. e-bukun

    January 22, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Gross materialism

    • brittany

      January 22, 2013 at 6:56 pm

      aaaah Mr. Righteous..u are back init!

  5. Tincan

    January 22, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    I don’t understand this phenomenon. I find it hard to believe that wealthy Nigerians are coming out to the UK to buy their African clothes or that what they want they cannot immediately find in Nigeria. I wonder if it is more coincidental shopping, so they are coming out to Selfridges anyway and they see something which catches their eye at ndani. Hmmnn.

    In anycase, there’s a huge gap for affordable and mass produced Nigerian clothes both in Nigeria and the UK. Something I’d like to explore…

  6. Joan

    January 22, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    No words…


    January 22, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    naija no dey carry last. Have you seen the list of the best 20 Nigerian blogs


      January 22, 2013 at 6:05 pm

      Thanks so much! We sincerely appreciate the mention!

  8. Hola

    January 22, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    “with airlines such as British Airways allowing Nigerian customers an additional 23kg of baggage free of charge.”

    how true is this???

    • OnPoint!

      January 22, 2013 at 9:30 pm

      Very true, every other African country is allowed just 23kg while we r allowed 46kg, tho I’m allowed 96kg…. lol!!

  9. Anon

    January 22, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    False economy/economics.

  10. i no send

    January 22, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    yeah its not a completely true reflection of reality in the country..some of it is true tho

  11. Bukky

    January 22, 2013 at 7:27 pm


  12. Nok10

    January 22, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Whilst I commend Omoyemi on promoting Nigerian fashion at Selfridges, this CNN segment is almost a sarcastic dig at Nigerians. It makes us all look ridiculous. You don’t see South Africa which has the largest economy is Subsaharan Africa nor Ghana which is also doing well. I guess SouthAfricans and Ghanians have their priorities straight. We naija have a long way to go……..

    • the canadian

      January 22, 2013 at 9:02 pm

      nicely said… Nigeria is the land of misplaced priorities… we have major issues to focus on and resolve we praising some king for being the first black person to buy a car… like wth?! the meaning of being a leader is to carry your followers along… i wonder how many people can afford 3 square meals in his kingdom…

  13. moi

    January 22, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    most of those native wears are not stylish, extremely causal I would say.

  14. Winny

    January 22, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Nigerians are now very materialistic and its a very worrying trend, the love and quest to acquire material wealth by any means legal, illegal or ritualistic is alarming. I f you don’t have money it’s as if you have leprosy an out cast basically. Naija girls even have brazilian hair and IPHONE5 cliques. May God help us to prioritize.

  15. AA

    January 22, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    I am so glad to read that most commentators are not happy with the documentary and Nigerians gross materialism. It means things are changing as well as attitudes. I am proud

  16. i'm obsessed with black magic voice

    January 22, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    Well [email protected]….nice review esp on Bella naija& Linda ikeji(with her sketchy story but amazing readers)bunch of drunk hilarious folks!

  17. lakelizzy

    January 22, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    As a Nigerian abroad, o find this to be very sad. We are becoming too materialistic for our own good. We don’t have our priorities right. We are enriching other’s pocket while ours is suffering. Im sure many proletariat borrow or steal just to able to show that they also went shopping abroad. Before u chop my head of note I said some people because I know that there are many honest earners in our country as well. How many people in Nigeria invest their money in something that will last? We seem to have become a culture of people living in and for the moment. What are leaving for the generations commingle after us?

  18. lakelizzy

    January 22, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    * coming after us*

  19. despy

    January 23, 2013 at 12:39 am

    There is hardly any middle class in Nigeria…………..we have the Super rich, that can buy Selfridges as a whole and throw it into their carrier bag………….and we have the poor………….lack of basics…..lacking in basic healthcare, education, food , shelter, traansport , etc,,,,,,,this show of materialism is nothing to be prowd of. The bane of our society is Show-offism, eh na we-we, hey hey just look at me….I have this and I have that………..ehn and were is your own.

    • lilz

      January 23, 2013 at 10:48 am

      who says theres no middle class in nigeria???

    • Ada

      January 23, 2013 at 10:56 pm

      Liz, Despy is absolutely correct!!! There is no middle class in Nigeria, there is a huge inequality gap!!!, and no, per capita GDP is soo low!!!!
      Despy, I could not have put it better myself! Thank you.

  20. primrose

    January 23, 2013 at 12:51 am

    Make the Brits and other oyibo people bring their goods to you. why create employment at Selfridges in London when you can create employment at a Selfridges in Lagos? Hmm? Why keep British Airways afloat with all our spending? For that scrooge airline to allow us extra 23kg, they are making a MIGHTY MEGA KILLING and insulting the passengers on top of it. And we no fit talk as we no know our human rights not to talk of priviledges. Hmmm.

  21. abbey

    January 23, 2013 at 2:25 am

    Bad! This is materilism in highest older. People are spending $$$ when average Nigerians are living on $2 a day. We have created a society that care less about the poor and embrace the rich. Our other African brothers know this about us……….

  22. Momo

    January 23, 2013 at 3:08 am

    Another article from te uk

  23. kesh

    January 23, 2013 at 3:43 am

    all i know is that for such an influential person in the Nigerian fashion industry i wish her site was more useful and entertaining than it is

  24. NNENNE

    January 23, 2013 at 3:50 am

    Let’s circulate some of that money at home and live a planned life. The generations to come will thank us for doing so.

  25. papa

    January 23, 2013 at 6:10 am

    The need to “belong”. Naija people all over the world are suffering from this same disease. And I’m not excluding myself.

  26. AnONYMouS

    January 23, 2013 at 8:36 am

    I agree…we’ve become so materialistic…everyone wants to be seen on the “red carpet” to flaunt their goodies! I dont know if im hopeful for my generation though..

  27. Opsy

    January 23, 2013 at 9:55 am

    All of you complaining and sounding self-righteous don’t have the means. If you do, you won’t see anything wrong in holidaying abroad and buying some stuff which might be far cheaper over there.

  28. Mousepad

    January 23, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Is Janurary really the peak of shopping year? I thought it was June/July??? Please I need clarifications, when is the most sales in London?? I need the info. thanks

    • mee

      January 23, 2013 at 3:08 pm

      January Sales, these days due to the economic condition in London, they start a bit early before Christmas to get the tills ringing

  29. Priscy

    January 23, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    so is it now a crime to shop weather abroad or at home ni….Kai Nigerians can like to claim self-righteous.

  30. ED

    January 23, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    @ Opsy so true….

  31. Gold

    January 23, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Hmmm.. comments …. so inspiring. Serious love for naija. @Canadian u r so so funny.U took words out of my mouth…hilariously revealling. Hope we learn to place our priorities right.

  32. cynthia

    January 23, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    You know what will be amazing? Nigerians using this purchasing power and rising influence to demand better treatment from the likes of BA, Virgin and UKBA, etc We need more articles on the amount of International students fees and living allowance spent by Nigerians abroad esp in the UK, taxes paid by Nigerians in abroad. Visa fees earned by the UK govt from Nigerians, apparently Nigeria is the 2nd most profitable UK visa center in the world. We actually add value. Instead they prefer to publish the negative. Lets use our influence to bring down the cost of air fares. The amount that these airlines earn in December alone from Nigerians is obscene and they do it because we do not stand up for ourseves. Our govt should fight these battles for us but if they wont we should do it ourselves. But no oh.. if someone suggests a two weeks boycott of virgin or BA like people did here in the UK over the starbucks tax avoidance issue, my people will start saying ha but I need to go for my sister’s wedding, my pikin dey marry, sorry oh, etc. Anyway I have lost my point sef, I done tire.

  33. Sara Adebayo

    January 24, 2013 at 3:20 am

    Y not empower Nigerian women? the stuff i saw in that shops can be done right here in Nigeria and sold to Nigerians.. Africans.. I truly don’t understand them..

  34. NNENNE

    January 24, 2013 at 3:34 am

    Love you much… Cynthia!

  35. Frank Nwoko

    January 25, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    Guys please do not have have HBP over some these issues. Nigeria is passing thru a phase. I have always told anyone who cares to listen that Nigeria is naturally passing thru a period and “can not” be manually or intentionally controlled to take a particular route. Allow her.

  36. peye

    January 25, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    I love Cynthia’s comment. We should use this influence to demand something more concrete than the award of the highest(most foolish) spender. Our selfishness is killing us.
    People don’t mind being treated like trash as long S they can take pictures to pose for the people in Nigeria to see. our money is just flying out without us thinking of ways to keep them within but we’re thinking of more ways to get them out.
    In Ukraine schools are making it a huge business having Nigerians come there to school. Giving incentives to make more people come. We’re giving our money to Ghana, Canada even people are going to schools that I consider lower standard schools in Benin republic and they still pay ridiculously high amounts. Enough of the complaining. Let’s do what we can do in our areas of influence.

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