Oh the joy of shopping! The agony of choices and the quandry of quality, genuineness and location. Welcome to shopping in Lagos. So, what are you looking to buy?
Ok first off. Have you heard of Made In Aba???
Aba is the commercial and Industrial hub of Eastern Nigeria. It is well known for the mass reproduction of goods and products. Aba is in Abia State, however, Made In Aba goods are not sold only in Aba. They are all over Nigeria.
With the recent recession Nigeria has been going through, there’s been a lot of traction and support for locally made products and lots of sanctions on importation. You can call Aba, West Africa’s own China.
Depending on what you want to buy, quality and your budget, there are different markets, malls and small shops to visit. As always, you get the best prices in the market, you however need to be very smart to get the right quality.
Visiting a Nigerian market is an experience and you really have to toughen up before you do this. The traders grab at you, trying to forcefully lead you to their stalls for your patronage, others shove their wares in your face, some walk up to you and try to convince you to go off with them as they have the most authentic items in the market at great rates. The market is not for the weak. Its a jungle. And you must up your bargaining game to get a good deal. If you are a white face (like my husband would say) or someone with a foreign accent, bear in mind, Nigerians love foreigners however they also think you have a money tree so be prepared to bargain away. But first, visit a few more Shops to price the same item, just to be sure you are getting a fair deal. Certain items can only be gotten in the big markets (Tejuosho, Balogun, Yaba, etcetera). Items like certain papers, certain fabrics, etcetera.
There are a few good malls with cinemas and international stores like Mango, Game, T.M. Lewin, Max, Hugo Boss, Swatch, Pandora, Essenza, LG, Samsung, et cetera while these are pricey, they are more pleasant to shop in and you most often get a warranty on purchased items. Some of the favorite malls include The Palms, Ikeja City Mall, Maryland Mall, Circle Mall. City Mall used to be a favorite but not so much anymore.
Stores include Ebeano or The Prince Supermarket, Mega Plaza, Park and Shop, Spar, Goodies, 9 to 7, L’epecerie, The Hub, La Pointe, Grand Square, Just Rite, Hub Mart, to mention just a few.
If you are budget shopping, head to ShopRite, Game stores or Spar. However if you don’t mind the cost and would want a lot more choices, then head to an Ebeano store, Grand Square, Goodies, L’Epicerie, Mega Plaza, 9 to 7, etcetera.
Happily though, Lagosians are starting to embrace online shopping and fantastic online stores and shoppers keep popping. Some of them include http://www.supermart.ng, http://www.evron.com.ng, http://www.dealdey.com, http://www.jumia.com, http://www.konga.com, http://www.smemarkethub.com, http://www.teerifix.com.ng
There are also social media stores, however, most of them focus on fashion. Some of their instagram handles include: @myactivekitchen @misspinkleach @silk_by_vikki @the5kshop @freshtodommot @freshdirectng @myfoodcartng amongst many others.
Shopping can be fun, it depends on what you are looking for. And thank God Nigeria’s global membership is growing in leaps and bounds and now almost everything you want is a click away. But, while that is easy, you still miss out on a lot of human interactions and that is where places like Ebeano, The Palms and Goodies fit in perfectly as you are bound to either make new friends or meet old friends/acquaintances. There are also a few sale events where buyers and sellers come together and network. These events are usually advertised.
It is pertinent to note that there are social media groups that promote buying and selling of new and used items, especially on Facebook. Such groups are usually tailored to expats for easy information. Some of these groups include The Lagos Expats Info Group, Expts in Nigeria, Lagos Garage Sales, Expats in Lagos Garage Sales.
Cars are also a big deal here. Best to buy a used imported car than the Nigerian used vehicle if you cannot afford a brand new one. Most dealers hang around Apapa (which is really close to the wharf, or Surulere. You can also contract a vehicle agent to search for your specifications or you go online to sites like http://www.olx.com.ng, http://www.cheki.com.ng, http://www.jiji.ng, http://www.efritin.com, etcetera.
You know what they say about shopping here? It is a Matter of Cash!