Nigeria may be Africa’s fastest-growing consumer market

125px-Flag_of_Nigeria.svgNigeria, the most populated sub-Saharan African country, may fast become the largest consumer market in Africa as supermarket chains enter the country, health considerations take higher priority and consumers indulge in luxury goods.

Renaissance Capital, a financial consultancy firm, recently said that South African grocers are increasingly looking to expand to smaller cities in Nigeria. Massmart, Woolworths and Shoprite recently opened outlets in the eastern Nigerian city of Enugu, and both Massmart and Shoprite have indicated that they plan to expand even further into the northern city of Kano in 2013.

“Apart from the convenience, the prices are good and the quality of the product is assured, unlike in the open market, where you can easily buy substandard products,” one consumer said. “Again, here you can always return a product if there is any problem with it.”

While price still remains a major factor for many Nigerians, health considerations have become increasingly more important when it comes to grocery shopping. In an October survey by Business Day Nigeria, 50 percent of respondents indicated that they read the nutrition labels on food and beverages before buying, and 30 percent of respondents said that they would like to see more nutritional information in restaurants.

Additionally, luxury car makers and European clothing designers have begun to enter the Nigerian market. Porsche opened its first dealership in February and mainly sells SUVs that are suited to the country’s pothole-laden roads that often flood during the rainy season. The U.K.-based Selfridges & Co. and the German retailer attended Nigeria’s Lagos Fashion & Design Week late last year.

“Nigerians are among are highest-spending foreign customers,” Selfridges  public relations manager Bruno Barba said.

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