HomeBusinessHistory of Online Business in Nigeria – Trends and Prospects

History of Online Business in Nigeria – Trends and Prospects

Nigeria is described as the fastest growing telecommunications country in Africa with growth rates reaching an amazing 21,891.1% in 2014, regardless of the fact that less than 60% of the population is active internet users. Tokunbo Orimobi

This implies that: About 40% of the population is yet to explore the internet market in Nigeria and you are one of them. Tokunbo Orimobi

Before the emergence of online business in Nigeria, starting up a business required renting a shop, store, office and employing or hiring professionals.

This made the cost of establishing a business very high. And unfortunately, not everyone could afford it.

As a result of this, the society was flooded with unemployed youth and retirees that had nothing to fall back on.

Meanwhile, the online business became an option with the promise of reducing the cost of starting and growing a business.

It introduced a new set of models such as B2B, B2C, C2C, and C2B that can turn any idea into a profitable business with no or little capital.

Today, many entrepreneurs have succeeded in using a website, blog, app, search engine, social media, and AI to run their businesses.

This is not an indication that online business has no challenges.

In fact, when you look at the circumstances that surround the use of the internet, privacy has been a major reason why many people have refused to accept the system.

Up till now, some people aren’t comfortable sharing their personal information on the web.

As a result of this, online business wasn’t popular.

Most entrepreneurs that followed the trend initially backed out as the patronage was nothing to write home about.

What is Online Business?

Entrepreneurs use the term online business differently. Some refer to it as eBusiness or eCommerce. Hence, online business and eCommerce are used interchangeably.

They both describe the use of the internet in achieving a business or commercial goal.

The concept of eBusiness was invented by IBM in 1994 when the company began to market itself in-house with the use of its IT foundations and expertise as a leader in the industry with a proposed investment of $1 Billion.

According to Wikipedia, the term “online business” is otherwise known as eBusiness while eCommerce is just one of the models for doing a business online.

Your idea or skill becomes an online business the moment you integrate the internet into it.

Online business in Nigeria, however, is the conduct of a business process on the internet, which as usual is an exchange of value, or information directly related to buying and selling of a product or service.

In an online business, the internet serves as the means through which a business is served to the customers. It doesn’t require meeting the customers one on one.

Meanwhile, the approach gives the business global exposure.

So, any business or commercial activity that occurs on the internet can therefore be referred to as an online business.

How online business works in Nigeria

An online business occurs whenever there is an exchange of information related to products or services between two individuals or corporate entities on the internet.

Each person standing in front of his computer or a mobile device or having a robot doing the transaction for him has engaged in an online business.

Two entities that are involved during every transaction include the supplier (the party that sells) and the consumer (the party that buys).

You can shift from one model to the other. You can be a consumer today and be a seller tomorrow. There’s no problem with that.

Models of eCommerce in Nigeria

Transactions that occur in online business are categorized into Business to Business (B2B) or Business to Consumer (B2C) transactions.

A buyer and seller can find themselves in any of these categories.

B2C is the transaction that takes place directly between a company and the end-users of its products or services.

And on the other hand, the B2B model is the buying and selling or transaction that occurs between two or more businesses such as between manufacturers and wholesalers or between wholesalers and retailers.

B2C became popular during the boom of dotcom in the late 90s. Then it was only used to refer to online retailers, whether they were individuals or companies.

Meanwhile, any business that relies on B2C must invest in efficient customer service to ensure regular returns for their customers.

Contrarily, B2B businesses must rely on efficient marketing campaigns of value that is present in goods or services.

List of online businesses in Nigeria

There are various types of online business you can lay your hands on in Nigeria, depending on your idea, skill, or experience.

The good thing about this is you can switch between your choices any time you feel like it. There’s no obligation as to which type of business you can do online.

The point is you can turn any of your ideas into an online business.

All you have to do is to choose a profitable business idea. If your idea is problem-solving, I can assure you, that it will bring you cool money.

Look around you and spot some of the major problems people are facing, then think of a solution.

The solution is your own idea. Do more research and make sure it’s unique and better than any existing similar solution. Don’t blow it yet, as it’s your key to realizing your dream life.

Meanwhile, this list contains examples of online businesses you can do in Nigeria.

  1. Web Design
  2. Graphic Design
  3. Writing
  4. Editing
  5. Online Store
  6. Voice Over Services
  7. Coaching
  8. Business Coaching
  9. Affiliate Marketing
  10. Re-Selling
  11. Digital/ Virtual Assistance
  12. Online Courses,
  13. e-Book Selling
  14. Online Tutoring
  15. Blogging
  16. Advertising
  17. Social Media Management
  18. Consulting
  19. Photography
  20. Podcasting and so on.

Without a good business idea, there’s no business. And without a business, there’s no money!!!

Your idea doesn’t mean to be something new. It could be something you have been doing and partially know for.

Having realized what to do, then automating that idea and making money from it is what online business is all about.

And the training you need is going to be offered to you on this website.

Just follow the thread and don’t be too forward, please.

Nigerian businesses that lead online

The following are some of the Nigerian companies that have taken their products, services, and operations online.

The majority of these businesses today are known all over the world for making a great impact on people’s lives.

Nigerian banks

Virtually all Nigerian banks operate online with an online business platform called financial technology (Fintech).

Some of them operate with international or national authorization and they include:

  1. Access Bank Plc
  2. Fidelity Bank Plc
  3. First City Monument Bank Plc
  4. First Bank of Nigeria Limited
  5. Guaranty Trust Bank Plc
  6. Union Bank of Nigeria Plc
  7. United Bank for Africa Plc
  8. Zenith Bank Plc
  9. Access Bank Plc
  10. Fidelity Bank Plc
  11. First City Monument Bank Plc
  12. First Bank of Nigeria Limited
  13. Guaranty Trust Bank Plc
  14. Union Bank of Nigeria Plc
  15. United Bank for Africa Plc
  16. Zenith Bank Plc

eCommerce companies in Nigeria

These are the sets of eCommerce companies in Nigeria. They offer to buy and sell online:

  1. Jumia
  2. Konga
  3. PayPorte
  4. VConnectNigeria
  5. Kara
  6. Printivo Store
  7. OLX Nigeria
  8. JiJi Nigeria
  9. Obiwezy
  10. AjeboMarket

News media companies in Nigeria

This is the list of news media companies that operate online in Nigeria:

  1. Tribune
  2. Vanguard
  3. Punch
  4. The Nation
  5. DailyPost
  6. PremiumTimes
  7. The Sun
  8. The Cable
  9. ThisDay
  10. Leadership

E-learning companies in Nigeria

This includes the list of eLearning companies that exist and lead in Nigeria:

  1. Chips Bits and Bytes
  2. The Learning Nuggets Company Ltd
  3. Topteck Services Ltd / Robotel Inc
  4. Zercoms Systems
  5. Cybernetics Innovation Limited
  6. TEDUCOM Solutions Limited
  7. Kawotek Academy
  8. Proedice Limited
  9. IBFS Training & Consulting
  10. Number Sense (PTY) Limited

Nigerian bloggers

This contains a few of the leading blogging companies in Nigeria:

  1. LindaIkejiBlog by Linda Ikeji
  2. OgbongeBlog by Jide Ogunsanya
  3. ShowBiz by Noble Igwe
  4. BellaNaija by Uche Eze
  5. Ovie by NotJustOkay
  6. JapehtOmojuwa
  7. Chude by Jide Onwo
  8. TechLoy by Loy Okieze
  9. WritersInCharge by Onibalusi Bamidele
  10. NaijaLoaded by Bamidele Azeez

There’re various other Nigerian businesses that are making waves on the internet across different industries since the beginning of online business in Nigeria.

Common goals of eBusiness owners

In every business, there are strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

How individuals manage their own situation determines the performance and success of their businesses.

So, how do you plan to manage your own online business if you start now?

You have a lot of learning materials at your disposal, just read more on digital marketing strategies.

Be aware, that whenever you’re starting up a business, it’s normal to face some startup challenges. Online business is no different. And it has its own challenges too.

Some of the challenges to face include:

  1. How to set it up (a website or blog)
  2. Identify a suitable market, niche, or industry;
  3. Study the trend
  4. How to source profitable products
  5. Which business model to use
  6. How to form marketing strategies
  7. How to penetrate fierce competition
  8. Hire and network with the right professionals
  9. How to finance the project
  10. How to retain customers

Meanwhile, all that is mentioned above are only meant to be your goals not barriers to your success.

Only where there can be a problem is your failure to take the right decision as you scale down the list above.

Challenges of online business in Nigeria

Mere looking at the benefits of using the internet for business, online business remains a safe haven for small business owners. Its impact on the economy is very superb.

But yet, it is the most fearful business platform that gets many internet users thinking.

When the level of computer illiteracy was high and there was no legislation to regulate the use of the internet, a lot of internet frauds were committed in the country until nobody wanted to trust anything they found online.

Hence, it became almost a taboo to be found in a cybercafe.

People couldn’t freely use their smartphones to avoid being embarrassed by security agencies who generalized all internet users as fraudsters.

As a result of this, it was very difficult to do online business in Nigeria.

How we got over the bottlenecks

Putting the following measures in place by government and private individuals, people began to change their worldviews about the use of computers and the internet:

Proscription of cyber-crimes

Some of the measures that were put in place include treating cyber-crimes as crimes punishable under the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

These crimes include fraudulent electronic mails, pornography, identity theft, hacking, cyber harassment, spamming, Automated Teller Machine (ATM) spoofing, piracy, and phishing.

Computer training

Another measure that was put in place was the integration of information and communication technology (ICT) into school curricula up to the tertiary level.

This had instilled a passion for knowledge related to computer technology. It also helped to make users know how to protect themselves from all sorts of internet abuse.

Computer skills required in getting a job

Private organizations also sent their workers for computer training and made computer skills acquisition a requirement for getting employment in the country.

Internet security

The use of internet security protocols is of top priority for all businesses. This can protect all transactions going online and prevent customer information from being hacked.

With all the measures, internet users scaled to about a 90% increase between 2001 and 2008 in Nigeria.

And that gave many industries the opportunity to move their businesses online and enhance their relationship with their customers.

Consequently, the largest part of our daily activities, including communication and commerce become what we do on the internet. And when there’s no access to the internet, life seems to be difficult.

As businesses take advantage of this development, the internet opens many opportunities worth exploring.

Trends of online business in Nigeria

Through the internet, the traditional model of business and financial transactions has drastically changed. People can now buy goods and services and pay online.

However, online business has reduced the flow of physical cash in the economy and led to a financial system in which people deposit, withdraw, and transfer money from their accounts without the need to visit their banks.

In the same vein, consumers are left with the options, of either buying or selling online.

Prospects of online business

Starting your own online business in Nigeria is a step close to a life full of great opportunities.

The fact is that online business might be challenging and difficult because the system is an emerging technology.

You don’t have to be an IT expert before you can start an online business. You can start if you have a smartphone or computer using this guide.

There are various online resources, such as text, audio, and video tutorials on this website that can walk you through the process and make you become a professional.

Just explore this website from the home page or fill out the form below to enroll in our free digital marketing courses and upgrade your marketing skill and knowledge to a professional level.


Following the discussion so far on the history of eCommerce in Nigeria, you would realize that the internet is a dynamic platform to monetize your skills or ideas. The system has been in existence for a long.

Those who were bold enough to integrate the technology into their businesses, despite all odds, are now the leaders in their respective industries.

Because eCommerce is an emerging technology, there is room for you to follow the trend and take your business online.

Even if you have no money to invest, you have the opportunity to start affiliate marketing and make money selling other people’s products.

The platform serves as a safe haven for small business owners and that can help your business grow rapidly.

If you study this post very well, you would see some links pointing to other resources. Click through them to learn more about digital marketing trends.


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