So you’ve had a hard week’s work and an even harder Friday night turn up. What else is left for the Lagos weekend except the inevitable Saturday afternoon wedding party? That would be a spot of retail therapy of course! Lagos is where it’s happening in the retail economy of Nigeria because Nigeria’s import-driven retail sector brings in practically all its goods through the Apapa Port, Nigeria’s only functioning general-purpose port. So where exactly do you go in this megacity if you want to spend some of your hard earned money? Here are some suggestions.

Balogun Market

No list about shopping destinations in Lagos can begin without mention of Balogun Market. Set smack dab in the middle of the Lagos Island marina CBD, Balogun market is the largest street market in West Africa, and is something of a shopper’s Mecca in Lagos. Everyday, thousands of traders sell their goods to an army of buyers that traipse through the market’s narrow streets looking for bargains. The market itself is something of a spectacle, its kaleidoscope of rich colours making it the subject of many an international media feature. Being the busiest retail establishment in Lagos, every major bank has a presence in or close to the market, providing a welcome supply of cash-filled ATMs, which feed this cash-driven market. For maximum enjoyment of the experience and great bargains it is recommended that the shopper comes in somewhat early before the market is filled with buyers. Traders here generally adhere to an old superstition about the day’s first customer opening up their sales for the rest of the day, and so you might be able to snag yourself a good deal on whatever household, clothing or food item you wish to buy. Coming in early also means that you can get to really walk around the market before congestion, pickpockets and harsh direct sunlight make it difficult.
What you can get here: Literally just about anything. It is supplied directly by port warehouses, and just about any item imported into Nigeria can be found here at the cheapest prices that you are ever going to see it anywhere in the country.

The Palms, Oniru 

At its completion in 2006, this was the largest retail mall in Nigeria, offering what was then an unprecedented amount of high-end consumer choice in fixed-price environments. Of course in the decade since then, such experiences have become more commonplace in Nigeria, with just about every major city in the country boasting a major retail mall. At the time however, this gleaming edifice with a food court and luxury shops and a huge supermarket and a 6-screen cinema was the zenith of the consumer experience available. To date, The Palms still maintains its high level of operational quality, with a very spacious secure parking lot and tight security. It also still maintains many of the high end retail tenants befitting of its Victoria Island location, and for expatriate shoppers in particular, The Palms is a big dose of the familiar.
What you can get here: High quality name brand clothing, household electronics, household goods and groceries, coffee bar, food court, bookshop, toy store, 6-screen cinema.

Obalende Market 

Nestled in the tiny transit hub of Obalende, this market is famous for being an extremely cut-price retail zone with shirts and trousers priced at as little as N500 a piece. With wares draped alongside the road, the entire purpose of the (technically illegal) street market is to tempt commuters passing through the Obalende interchange and entice them into spending a few thousand Naira. At full peak hours, the ensuing chaos involving vehicles, law enforcement, commuters, shoppers and sellers is quite something to behold – one of the iconic, defining, quintessential snapshots of Lagos.
What you can get here: Clothes, mobile phone accessories, shoes, bags, personal accessories and jewelry.

Computer Village 

Unlike the other locations on the list which offer a broad retail experience, Computer Village, like its name implies offers strictly IT-related merchandise for sale. It is amazing to think of the sale of telephones and computer equipment in the same manner of selling clothing material and shoes on the street at Balogun market, but that is exactly what happens here. A number of enterprising businesspeople have built temporary structures that pass for shops, from which they display computer accessories, laptops, phone cases and mobile phones. Many of the sellers also double as repairers, which is also intriguing. Here, you can get anything from a $2000 Macbook to a N25,000 used ASUS laptop – often in the same shop. You can also find cut-price bootleg games and software by the bucketload, which makes Computer Village a very popular hangout for the young and tech-savvy population of Lagos.
What you can get here: Computers, phones, accessories and everything in between. Hopefully without having your pocket picked.
Novare Mall: The newest establishment on this list, the Novare Lekki Mall in Sangotedo is now the biggest retail mall in Lagos, with a massive 10,000sqm of retail space and a massive car park. This mall has everything The Palms has, but on a super-sized scale. In fact my only problem with it is just how big it is – it can actually be a bit disorienting, not to mention tiring to walk around. Targeted at the upwardly mobile communities of Ajah – Awoyaya, this mall has been doing brisk business since its opening and has achieved occupancy of more than 80%.
What you can get here: Everything you can get at The Palms or any other big box retail mall in Lagos. Just you know, bigger.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Basket
Scroll to Top