A high number of internet users sparks the use of credit cards and online transactions in Nigeria

Nigeria has the highest number of internet users in Africa today. According to a new report from Timetric the high number of internet users has resulted in strong growth in Nigeria’s card and online payment industry – a trend that is set to continue. 

According to the report, the high number of online users has encouraged more people to trust and use cards for payments and online transactions. As the number of cards in circulation is expected to grow, this would result in emerging opportunities for the Nigerian cards and payments industry.

In only one year the number of internet users in Nigeria rose by 19%, from 46.2 million users in 2011 to 55 million users in 2012. At the same time the cards industry grew at a CAGR of 15.77%, rising from 24.9 million cards in circulation in 2008 to 44.7 million cards in 2012.

The report also finds that the number of cards in circulation in Nigeria is expected to grow from 48.8 million in 2013 to 61.6 million in 2017.

Mobile media consumption is growing exponentially due to the popularity of social media sites and the increasing number of web-enabled smartphones. In 2012 Nigeria had nearly five million smartphone users, an increase of 25% in comparison with four million users in 2011. With a third (33.4%) of the Nigerian population being online Nigeria occupies the 11th position globally, after France, which has an internet population of 50.3 million.

The growth in online usage comes at the same time as Nigeria has seen a steady growth in their annual GDP, rising from 6.7% in 2011 to 6.9% in 2012, with a CAGR of 6.5% in the third quarter of 2012. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Nigeria’s GDP is expected to grow at an average rate of 6.6% from 2013 to 2017. Growth in online usage coupled with a rising GDP will fuel new opportunities in the Nigerian cards and payments industry.