Market Insights: Nigeria

In the latest in Croud’s series of Market Insights, we take a look at marketing in Nigeria; exploring the use of digital marketing and sharing the key dates for your diary. This insights report was collated with direction from Nigerian Croudies on the network.

Languages spoken

The official language in Nigeria is English, however, they also use Pidgin English to converse. The three other major languages spoken are Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo, depending on your geographical location.

The capital city in Nigeria is Abuja and has a population of just over 776,000.  The overall country population is 196 million, as of 2017.

Important Dates in Nigeria

The working week in Nigeria varies depending on your job type. For private firms, 8am-5pm Monday to Friday, are the most common hours. However, for government-owned firms, hours can often be 8am to 4pm, Monday to Thursday, and 8am to 2pm on Friday. Whilst some still work Monday to Saturday.

Digital Marketing: Nigeria

The majority of digital advertising comes in the form of Google Display and Search ads, YouTube ads, Social media ads including Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Snapchat as well as Programmatic ads, with all ads featuring in English.

The predominantly used search engines are:

  • Google
  • Bing

People using these engines will use English when searching on both. Additionally, marketing collateral resonates better with the target audience when it’s contextualised and segmented based on a particular location within the country, as ethnicity and religion plays a key role when planning and launching campaigns.

Business in: Nigeria

This next section covers some of the expected business attitude conventions that exist in Nigeria, particularly in the case of the workplace.


Greeting processes are very important in Nigeria and it is rare to just greet someone in passing. It is important to take some time to exchange pleasantries and ask about each others well-being. To shake someone’s hand is common; if you are a man greeting a woman, wait for her to extend her hand first.

Therefore in general, Nigerians use less eye contact than members of Western cultures. Insisting on looking others in the eye during a conversation might easily be taken as a sign of rudeness or even aggression.

Business cards

There is no exact way or time to exchange business cards, but one should always endeavour to receive another’s with either both or your right hands – never with the left. Always take a moment to examine the business card before putting it away in a business card holder.

Nigerian time

Generally, Nigerians live and work at a more relaxed pace than Western cultures might be used to. Punctuality is valued, but sticking to schedules is less important than an individual’s particular situation. Also, due to the erratic traffic conditions, being on time can be quite hard.

Moreover, establishing a personal relationship with your colleagues and superiors is common in Nigeria. It’s normal for the first two hours after meeting someone for the first time to be spent getting to know each other. Family and health matters are very important in Nigeria, and they will inevitably be brought up.

Don’t try to rush through this process or impose your own agenda at these initial meetings. For things to go smoothly afterwards, it’s important to be pleasant and agreeable. In private meetings, don’t be shocked if they are interrupted by calls, emails, or knocks at the door as Nigerians do a lot of work in teams and managers constantly manage them.

Patience is a virtue you will sorely need when doing business in Nigeria. It is often wise to schedule important meetings well ahead, or to call the day before to confirm.


  • Nigeria is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, with approximately 196 million people in an area of 360,000 sq miles. It is the country with the largest population in Africa and the seventh largest population in the world.
  • Approximately 50% of Nigerians are urban dwellers with the rate of urbanisation being estimated at 4.3%. Nigeria is home to over 250 ethnic groups, with over 500 languages and a huge variety of customs and traditions.
  • 42.54% of the population is between the ages of 0-14 with a very high dependency ratio.


Three of the main religious groups are Islam at 50%, Christianity at 40% and other indigenous beliefs at 10%. Roman Catholicism is the largest Christian denomination but Anglicanism is also strong, as are Pentecostal and other Evangelical denominations. Therefore, it is important to remember that there are a number of different ethnicities, cultures and religions living side by side in Nigeria.


Public markets are opened from as early as 6am till late in the evening between Monday and Saturday, however some markets do open on Sunday as well. Shopping malls are also open all week. In Northern Nigeria, most shops owned by Muslims are shut during prayer time on the weekdays and weekends but reopened afterwards. It is also commonplace for shops to be closed on Friday for a period of time when Muslim shop owners will go to the mosque to offer prayers.

Interesting Facts

  • Many Nigerians will insist on being addressed with full titles at all times.
  • The Nigerian concept of personal space is almost nonexistent. It is quite normal for people to stand close to you when talking or standing in line. While this may seem unpleasant to some, it is important to be tolerant.
  • The life expectancy for men is 54.7 and 55.7 for women.

To discuss further, or to find out more about the Croudie Network, contact us.

*All opinions are directly from the experiences of the Croudies.

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