The Nigerian retail sector, a sector used to be dominated by traders in the traditional open markets, a number of shops and numerous roadside kiosks, is clearing the way for modern shopping malls. A closer look at Lagos, the country’s biggest metropolis, it is easy to spot a concentration of shopping malls with cars parked in beautiful ambience and shoppers pushing carts to the rear end of their cars. This was not the norm back then; before the year 2000.

Shopping at the local market was a matter of necessity linked to our basic needs of food, shelter and clothing. Excessive bargaining, shoving, sweating and a cautious handling of purse were few of the many things shoppers had to go through while trying to make a purchase. Window shopping was unheard of because it just was not worth the stress. Small roadside supermarkets sold items at exorbitant prices and the mere act of visiting one was considered a waste of money; a popular theme for the rich.

It was the need for convenience, safety and comfort that drove the average Nigerian to explore modern shopping malls gradually erupting in the early 2000s and the retail market in Nigeria has witnessed remarkable growth since then. Ceddi Plaza, Palms Shopping Mall and Tinapa are some of the shopping centers that were first launched in Nigeria. Tenants like Shoprite, Mr Price, KFC, Silverbird Cinemas, Genesis Cinemas and WoolWorths quickly filled the spaces on the shopping floors. Retailing is becoming more organized and international brands are getting more visibility through this formal channel. Nigerians embrace the mall culture as a symbol of class and it is now a part of urban lifestyle. Some of the propelling factors for this change include attractive demographics like population, urban expansion and a higher concentration of young people, changes in consumer preferences and taste, increased middle class and the digital evolution. A competitive and growing Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector is a resultant effect of the retail expansion.

The retail segment of real estate has also benefited from this immense growth and we see new property developments springing up in major cities. Institutional investors have taken interest in Nigeria, steadily increasing investments and erecting more shopping malls at the city centers. Buildings of modern architectural design and standard facilities are all attractive features of today’s shopping mall. Some shopping malls combine business, medical and leisure facilities offering numerous options into buyers and creating better shopping experience. Parking space, restaurants, gyms, cinema, banks, pharmacies are all part of the facilities shoppers get to use in one shopping experience. Shopping malls are designed in luxurious styles and have multiple tenant structure. Convenience is key to the success of shopping malls.

In spite of recent changes in consumer behavior, there is still high level of activities in local markets. Cities with demand for modern shopping malls may remain underserved due to lack of data on demographics, earning power and trends in consumer preference. Through our team of market researchers and real estate consultants, we are able to provide real time information on consumer needs and measure the pulse of the market. New developments have risen in the commercial property but there is still more room for expansion; REIC will help you get there.


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