Opportunities for Digital Commerce in Kaduna State: How Women Entrepreneurs are adapting to Social Selling

Opportunities for Digital Commerce in Kaduna State: How Women Entrepreneurs are adapting to Social Selling

For the purpose of this blog post, we will describe Social selling as the practice of utilising social media channels to engage potential customers and promote products or services.

As social selling relies on the power of social networks, one can say that social selling has emerged as a powerful tool for businesses to reach broader audiences and connect directly with consumers, it has also made buying and selling easier and faster while enhancing brand visibility and engagement. It has also removed the friction between product discovery and purchase.

As more women entrepreneurs harness the potential of digital commerce by exploring social selling, they are not only breaking traditional barriers but also contributing to the advancement of financial inclusion and economic empowerment within the region.

As part of our work in Kaduna State, we carried out a study to gain an understanding of how women in Kaduna State engage in social selling, exploring the platforms they utilise, the impact of their efforts on their businesses, the challenges they encounter, and the opportunities they harness. The findings of this study contributes to a deeper understanding of the dynamics of social selling within a developing economy, with a focus on the unique context of Kaduna State.

This blog post seeks to summarise these findings while contributing to the knowledge-bank for players in the ecosystem designing interventions to support women entrepreneurs in Northern Nigeria- particularly Kaduna State.


Findings from our Study

Fig 1: Age distribution and online selling

330 respondents were surveyed of which 151 were women

  • Over 75% of respondents between ages 18 – 40 in a sample size of 171 are already involved in social selling.

  • Using a gender lens in analysing our findings, we discovered that awareness of social selling is very high amongst women.

  • The most utilised platforms for social selling in Kaduna state  are WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook accounting for 93% of all social commerce activity in the state.

  • WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram also account for over 87% of the highest sales according to respondents.

  • Where a physical store exists, there is a reduced incentive to sell online. Only 64% of women who have a physical store sell online.

  • Clothing, fashion or beauty category accounted for over 57% of the women respondents involved in online selling.

  • Food and food items accounted for over 40% of respondents who did not sell online or engage in any form of social selling.

  • 90%  of the respondents who adopted online selling had completed their secondary school education.

  • 79% of respondents have never received any training on social commerce hence, they are self-taught.

  • 92% of respondents responded positively, stating their interest in receiving training on social commerce.

  • 88% of respondents indicated a likelihood of adopting social commerce if a training is done. 

  • 67% of respondents (9) in a follow-up survey ranked Internet and fraud as a challenge for non-participation in social commerce. Payment collection was not acknowledged as a significant challenge with 33% stating this as a challenge.


On the adoption of social commerce, it is agreed that there is a high number of acceptance of such forms of commerce however, usage is simplistic in the sense that the platform utilised is largely chat and social media with limited exploration of advertisement channels and marketplaces. The most striking observation is the remarkable participation rate among the younger generation-with over 75% of respondents aged 18 to 40 actively engaging in social selling. It is evident that this age bracket sees tremendous potential and value in leveraging digital platforms to drive their entrepreneurial pursuits. This response underscores the alignment of social commerce with the aspirations and preferences of the digital natives. In addition, heightened awareness among women signifies their receptiveness to innovative business models and their inclination to explore new avenues for economic empowerment.


Platform preferences tell a compelling story of their own. WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook command a staggering 93% of all social commerce activity, reflecting their dominance and paramount importance as conduits for commercial engagement. These platforms showcase their efficiency in translating engagement into tangible sales, accounting for over 87% of the highest reported sales figures.


Education emerges as a defining factor in social commerce involvement. An overwhelming 90% of those who embraced online selling had completed their secondary school education, underscoring the role of education in facilitating digital entrepreneurship. The prevalence of self-taught individuals (79%) showcases the resourcefulness of individuals in navigating the intricacies of social commerce without formal training.


The correlation between lower adoption of social commerce and the presence of a physical store among women underscores the potential hesitations or complexities that arise from transitioning existing business models to online platforms. The statistics shed light on the categories that flourish within the realm of social selling. Clothing, fashion, and beauty items account for over 57% of respondents who are actively involved in online selling, showcasing the allure of lifestyle products in the digital marketplace. On the flip side, food and food items constitute the largest proportion (40%) of respondents who do not partake in social selling, indicating that certain segments might be more hesitant to embrace this emerging trend.


A remarkable 92% of respondents expressed eagerness to receive training in social commerce, and an equally impressive 88% indicated their willingness to adopt social commerce upon receiving such training. This reflects a clear recognition of the potential benefits that structured education can bring to their business endeavours.


Challenges on the path to social commerce are not overlooked. In a follow-up survey of respondents who do not participate in online selling, concerns related to Internet access, and fraud deter around 67%, reflecting the need for robust security measures, redress systems and awareness campaigns to foster trust and confidence in online transactions. Interestingly, payment collection is seen as less of a challenge, indicating that this aspect might be less of a barrier than other factors.


In essence, the statistics unveiled in this study depict a multifaceted landscape of digital commerce as it pertains to social selling  where awareness, adoption, education, and challenges intertwine to shape its trajectory. As we witness the convergence of technology and entrepreneurship, these insights provide a crucial compass for businesses and policymakers to navigate the evolving world of social selling, fostering an environment that is conducive to innovation, inclusivity, and sustainable growth.


Download our report using the link below to learn more about our findings from this study which among others covers the conditions that should be met for social commerce to thrive for Women entrepreneurs in Kaduna State as well as opportunities that can be explored to improve social commerce for women entrepreneurs in Kaduna State.

1 Comment
  • Eunice Habila
    Posted at 05:37h, 02 December Reply

    This is an enlightening study. It tells a story that is often misconstrued.

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