Nigeria is experiencing an economic boom. The combination of this past year’s run up in oil prices, and a sweeping government reform aimed at eradicating corruption, has helped the economy in Nigeria prosper.
The economic betterment of Nigeria has lead to a direct increase in the prosperity of its expanding middle class.
With a growing banking, oil, and tourism sector, the trickle down effect has put more money into the pockets of the Nigerian middle class.
The middle class, comprised of fashion conscious consumers, is using its new found spending power to purchase brand name clothing.
While the clothing market in Nigeria is saturated by Chinese manufactured clothing, there is a scarcity of American brand names.
An exporter, whether a single individual bringing clothing to Nigeria, or a large established apparel wholesaler, can make a good deal of money by supplying brand name clothing to Nigeria.
Currently, Nigerian consumers are seeking out well known American brands such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and other internationally recognizable brands.
The Nigerian market has a well developed media sector, which has the spread the popularity of American brand names to the far reaches of the country.
Supplying these lucrative brand names to Nigeria is feasible when the clothing exporter understands the market.
Because using shipping services such as UPS, Fed Ex, and DHL can be expensive, the use of a freight forwarder is highly recommended.
Freight forwarders aggregate shipments from various senders, and through their bargaining power are able to offer shippers a much lower shipping rate.
Another advantage of using a Nigerian freight forwarder is that they can clear the apparel through customs on behalf of the sender.
What is perhaps even more helpful to exporters dealing with the Nigerian market, is their freight collect services.
Payment for the shipping is made by the customer when he or she picks up the order from the shipper’s Nigerian office.
Some of the freight forwarders also offer direct shipping to the customer’s residence or place of business.
For people sending clothing to Nigeria, where the shipment is relatively small, the US Postal Service can be used.
But while a freight forwarder might charge as low as $2.90 per pound, the US Postal Service charges close to $6 per pound.
Most freight forwarders have a minimum of 60 pounds, while the US Postal Service has no minimum shipping requirements.
Which ever option you use, it is highly recommended that the clothing exporter feels comfortable with the shipping service.
If you are using the freight forwarder for the first time, feel comfortable in asking them for references.
Companies such as Grandbelle International and Express Air Freight Unlimited, are able to ship and clear orders for Nigeria, on a freight collect basis, which makes them ideal for business to business transactions.
While sellers might be concerned due to media reports concerning fraud, payment for the merchandise can easily be done by wire transfer, since Nigeria has a sophisticated and well developed banking system.
From my experience, the majority of Nigerian business people are hard working and honest, and I would not allow a few negative stories to distort the perception to what are otherwise honest people.
If you are a clothing wholesaler or exporter, and you are looking for a market with a strong appetite for high quality brand name clothing, then Nigeria might be the perfect market for you.