Christmas Shopping: Nigerians Opt for Low-cost Brands

inflationA shopper walks down an aisle in a newly opened Walmart Neighborhood Market in Chicago in this September 21, 2011 file photo. REUTERS/Jim Young/Files
  • Christmas Shopping: Nigerians Opt for Low-cost Brands

There has been a remarkable shift in the shopping arrangements by people ahead of the Yuletide as most shoppers now go for goods that are not expensive; just as they look for suitable alternatives for the expensive ones.

An interior decorator, Ego Oranu, said she would only shop for food and her children’s items.

“I am not buying clothes for myself; I’ll make do with the clothes that I bought last year. After buying food and stuff for the kids, there will really not be much left over because prices of things have gone up,” she said.

The President, Ikeja Shop Owners’ Association, Mr. John Okonkwo, also said, “The price of virtually every product has risen by almost 100 per cent. For instance, a five litre keg of Kings’ vegetable oil that previously sold for N1,500 now sells for N3,500 and 10kg of Semovita that was sold for N1,200 is now N3, 200. We bought one carton of tomato puree for N1,500 before; now it is N3,000. Everything that previously sold for N1,000 now sells for about N3,000,” he said.

For seasoning, Okonkwo said a carton of Maggi that sold for N5,000 was being sold for N8,000 while a similar carton of Knorr cubes that went for N4,800 had gone up to N7,200.

Hamper makers who used this period to make a lot of money lamented the ‘dry’ situation of things as they complained that many people had shunned hampers this time around.

“People are not buying items because there is no money. The sales this year are too dull. It has never been this bad. Two years ago, in a day, I made up to N200,000; but now, one would be lucky to see N40,000. Imagine somebody putting up a market of more than N2m only to sell N40,000 in a day,” Okonkwo lamented.

Most shoppers have also defined their priorities for the season since food and clothing items are expensive. Those that have chosen food consider cheaper alternatives to expensive food items.

A retired civil servant, Mrs. Roseline Akinroye, said, “I am already looking for alternatives to rice. I do not have to eat foreign rice in any case because it is not as nutritious as local rice. I can eat local rice or our local delicacies like amala, ewedu and efo riro. I can entertain my visitors with pounded yam instead of rice. Nigerians have a lot of food choices.

“I love eating turkey meat but if that is too expensive, I will buy local chicken. Also, I don’t have to buy imported drinks. I can make my lemonade at home with natural fruits, which are healthier.”

Similarly, a retired Independent National Electoral Commission employee, Mrs. yetunde Odeyemi, advised Nigerians to cut their coat according to their ‘pocket’ this Christmas.

She said, “Rice is expensive. We can eat eba and beans, although beans is expensive;it is better than rice,” she said.

An architect, Mr. Francis Eche, said he would buy more of food items than clothes since both are expensive, adding that the body needed food more than clothes.

A fashion designer, Blessing Ehikweme, said because of the high cost of living, she would concentrate on food.

Mrs. Vivian Okorie also said her shopping would be minimal because of the recession. “There is no money in the country for even people working not to talk of those that don’t have work. I will concentrate on food; then for clothes, if I have to buy any, I will buy Ankara instead of foreign materials.”

Another housewife, Esther Ifere, working with a health and nutrition firm, also said she would shop more of food than clothes.

About the Author

Samed Olukoya
CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade long experience in the global financial market. Contact Samed on Twitter: @sameolukoya; Email: [email protected]

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