Nigeria Now and in the Future

This survey will be run by Ipsos Nigeria on a quarterly basis. This publication summarizes outcome of the first wave. Future waves will be more interesting as we begin to get data on trends.  Stay tuned for the next wave, which will be conducted in March.

This survey will be run by Ipsos Nigeria on a quarterly basis. This publication summarizes outcome of the first wave. Future waves will be more interesting as we begin to get data on trends. Stay tuned for the next wave, which will be conducted in March. Even without trend data, the findings from this first wave are very interesting and provide insights on Nigeria and Nigerian consumers.

In sum, Nigerians are still extremely loyal to open markets despite the massive investment in new retail formats over the past two decades. Smart phones are owned by a large majority of Nigerians and are by far the main way of accessing the internet with laptops far behind. Data is a close second to food in terms of what Nigerians spend their money, including transport and electricity. Nigerians get their news mainly from radio with TV second. The internet is far behind in this respect and it appears that Nigerians access the internet mainly for entertainment rather than news. As in the rest of the world, Newspapers are almost insignificant as a source of news and are in danger of disappearing altogether. Finally, Nigerians want their government to fix the economy. Overwhelmingly they believe the economy and inflation are by far the most serious problems facing the country.

Nigerians continue to love shopping in open markets, despite huge investments in more modern trade formats.

Despite the large investment in modern retail outlets by Shop Rite, Game and many others, Nigerians still overwhelmingly shop in open markets. 95% of Nigerians claim to do so, with 44% shopping in neighborhood shops, 22% supermarkets and 3% hypermarkets. (The lowest score was the Northwest at 93%, so there is not much variation here across Nigeria.) For manufacturers the implication here is that efficient and effective routes to market will continue to be the factor that determines the success any brand sold in Nigeria; likely more so than good marketing, promotions, digital, etc. For retailers; it seems obvious from the data that the experiences offered in the modern trade have not provided the key to unlocking t

Smart phones are owned by 63% of Nigerians. A surprisingly low 9% of Nigerians own laptops with Lagos highest at 17% and the North Central and Northwest tied at 2%.. Smart Phone ownership varies regionally as 87% of Lagosians claim to own, vs only 46% in the Northwest. There is an inverse relationship between smart phone and feature phone ownership. Only 33% or Lagos respondents own feature phones while 67% of those in the Northwest own them.What is clear from the data is that Nigerians want to own the best phone possible and as smart phones get cheaper consumers will continue to upgrade to smart phones across Nigeria, continuing the increase in access to the internet that has been occurring over the past two decades.

Airtime/Data is second only to food in terms of what Nigerians spend their money on and,surprisingly,ahead of transport. This is true for every region of Nigeria. (14% spend most on food, 10% most on airtime and 9% on transport.)

Access to the internet, Facebook, WhatsApp and to a lesser extent, Instagram appears to be critically important to Nigerians as indicated by what they spend their money on. Facebook and WhatsApp are used by 57% and 50% respectively and now play important roles in enabling the social interactions among Nigerians. However, this picture has some nuances. Radio and TV are holding their own, especially with regard to accessing the news. 83% of Nigerians watch TV and 82% listen to radio while only 47% use the internet on a weekly basis. When it comes to obtaining reliable news, radio wins by a fairly large margin at 40% with 29% relying on TV.  Social Media and Internet follow for news at 13% and 11% respectively. It appears that the internet and social media are used more for entertainment with traditional news sources holding their own when it comes to accessing information. Newspapers appear to be dying off as only 3% claim to get reliable news from them. Again, this seems to be following the trends in the rest of the world.

On “Burning issues” Nigeria is not quite as diverse as one might imagine given the diversity of the country. 

Unemployment and the high cost of living are the dominant concerns across Nigeria at 76% and 53% respectively. Only corruption comes close at 52%. On unemployment, Lagosians are the least concerned at 67%, with those most concerned living in the South South 80%. There is more variation with concern about inflation with the South/South at 61% and the North Central at only 36%. Almost all other measures show surprisingly low diversity; i.e. Nigerians seem to agree on the most serious issues facing the nation. These include corruption, poor leadership, poverty, poor infrastructure, hunger/drought and other measures.

Nigerians are pessimistic about the direction of the country with 71% saying it is going in the wrong direction.

While that may seem a bad reading, relative to other countries, Nigerians are only slightly more negative than the average country. For perspective, the global average country scores around 63% “Wrong Direction.” South Africans, for example, register 86% wrong direction, Americans 65% and Mexico a whopping 96%.

Nigerians are optimistic about the future.

Not surprisingly, to those who know Nigerians, regardless of the current situation, they are optimistic about the future. Just over 70% believe the economic situation in the country will improve in 2019. And a huge 87% believe their personal living conditions will improve in 2019.

Nigerians want to work.

By a wide margin unemployment is seen as the most serious problem-and the problem they would like the government to tackle. 31% want the government to help create jobs and another 19% want the government to improve the economy. No other factor comes close to these two. In fact, the combined 58% of respondents who see the economy and jobs as the main areas for improvement by the government exceeds the 49% total for all other opportunities combined. These include Infrastructure, Agriculture, Security, Electricity, Water and Health Care.These factors reflect the main concerns they have about Nigeria. 76% believe the economy is the most serious problem while 53% name inflation and the high cost of living as major concerns. Interestingly, corruption and poor leadership follow these concerns at 52% and 46% respectively.  From these results it appears that the average Nigerian is willing to tolerate some issues with corruption as long as the economy is working.

Nigerians want the government to fix the issues facing the nation and are prepared to vote in large numbers to make this happen.

In sum, Nigerians, while not satisfied with the current direction of the country, are optimistic about the future and believe the economy and their personal situations will improve in 2019.

Next Steps

Ipsos will run this survey on a quarterly basis with the next wave scheduled for March 2019. Please contact us if you have any questions and would like a more in depth look at this data. Additionally, if you would like to add questions to the survey, please contact us through [email protected] and we will see what we can do to accommodate your requests. 

Full report of the survey has been made available for download.