What products are Nigerians buying online?

Nigeria’s ecommerce market is heating up with online retailers such as Konga and Jumia battling for consumers’ attention.

Although the market is still young, many are seeing big potential. South African-based emerging markets media giant Naspers has invested in Konga, while Germany-based Rocket Internet has an interest in Jumia.

But what products are Nigerians buying online? Jumia recently released a list of its 10 top selling products across categories for 2013.

The most popular product in 2013 was mobile phones, with the Nokia Lumia and Tecno Phantom being some of the top models. Tecno, a Chinese company with an exclusive focus on the African market, claims to be one of the continent’s fastest growing mobile brands. It also has a manufacturing plant in Ethiopia. Dell laptops and the Infinix tablets are also among the top items that Nigerians bought.

Televisions were another a big seller for Jumia, notably Samsung and LG brands. In an earlier interview with How we made it in Africa, Sim Shagaya, CEO of Jumia’s competitor Konga, also highlighted electronics as one of its top products.

Nigerians seem to buy a lot of clothing online with women’s dresses and men’s shoes being the third and fifth most popular products respectively for Jumia. Bathroom towels are also a popular online purchase.

Last year saw the online retailer shift a large number of LG washing machines, ranked in sixth position. A 2011 survey by Renaissance Capital found that a vast majority of middle class Nigerian households own a refrigerator, electric fan, electric iron and DVD player. However, only 42% own a fridge freezer, and only 8% a washing machine.

Jumia’s top selling book was Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai’s The Accidental Public Servant. El-Rufai served as the minister of the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja as well as director general of the Bureau of Public Enterprises. The book has been described as “a story of Nigeria, told from the inside”.

Another sought after product in 2013 was Mama Gold rice. “During the 2013 Christmas holidays we identified a new trend where Nigerians bought a lot of bags of rice and oil to give out to [the] older members of their families,” said Jumia in a statement.

Jumia's top selling products in 2013
1Mobile phones (Nokia Lumia, Blackberry, Tecno Phantom)
2Samsung and LG televisions
4Dell laptops and Infinix tablets
5Male shoes
6LG washing machines
7Elizabeth Arden perfumes
8The Accidental Public Servant book by Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai
9Mama Gold rice
10Bathroom towels