20 Brands to Watch in 2020


Obinna Chima, Emma Okonji and Raheem Akingbolu

Continuing its agenda-setting for 2020, THISDAY Board of Editors has identified 20 brands it believes would be market leaders to watch in the brand New Year.


Zenith Bank Plc has continued to blaze the trail in digital banking in Nigeria; scoring several firsts in the deployment of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure to create innovative products that meet the needs of its teeming customers. The bank is verifiably a leader in the deployment of various channels of banking technology, and the Zenith brand has become synonymous with the deployment of state-of-the-art technologies in banking. The financial institution is driven by a culture of excellence and strict adherence to global best practices.

Access Bank

Since its business combination deal with the defunct Diamond Bank, Access Bank has emerged as a leading financial power house in the country. The bank is now looking beyond Nigeria and seeks to expand its footprint in Africa with its latest acquisition of the Transnational Bank Limited of Kenya. Presently Access Bank boasts of being among the five largest banks in Nigeria in terms of assets size, deposits, loans and branch network. The bank’s vision is to be the world’s most respected African bank.

Guaranty Trust Bank

Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTBank), is one of the leading financial institutions built on a foundation of excellence, professionalism and best practices. The GTBank is one of the leading brands in the country because of its consistent delivery of innovative financial solutions and exceptional customer experiences. This has enabled it to record year on year growth in clientele base and key financial indices since inception.


Dangote, a proudly Nigerian brand is the most diversified and largest conglomerate in West Africa and one of the largest in the continent. Dangote Cement, a member of the group is the most capitalised company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Dangote is expected to deliver its 650,000 barrels per day capacity crude oil refinery with the world’s tallest atmospheric tower next year. It is the only Nigerian brand that featured on the 2018 and 2019 edition of the Top 100 brands in Africa.


Konga, which was acquired by Zinox Group in January 2018, has contributed to the growth and sustainability of e-commerce in Nigeria. Two years down the line, Konga has maintained leadership position in Nigeria’s e-commerce space. One of the strides recorded is the roll out of brick-and-mortar stores in various Nigerian cities, which have grown its physical store presence to more than 30 nationwide.
Today, Konga is nearest to the customers as a result of its ubiquitous physical stores which dot Nigeria’s landscape. Interestingly, these stores also serve a very important dual function; not only as ordering centres but equally as fulfillment centres where customers can pay and collect their items, including those ordered online. Having invested in critical infrastructure with the set-up of major regional warehousing facilities, Konga is set to shape the e-commerce industry in 2020.


Since the inception of Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) in Nigeria in 2001, MTN has maintained a leading position among other telecoms operators, in the area of the number of subscribers on its network. With a market share of 36.57 per cent and a subscriber base of over 65 million, MTN has provided direct and indirect job opportunities for Nigeria and has contributed immensely to the GDP growth of Nigeria since 2001, despite its many challenges that attracted fines severally from the telecoms industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission. In 2015, MTN acquired Visafone, the only surviving Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operator at that time for N47.5 billion, to enable it utilise Visafone’s 800 MHz spectrum to launch its 4G LTE network across the country. Penultimate month, the telecoms giant took a giant stride when it did a demo on its 5G trial launch in Abuja, Lagos and Calabar, thus making Nigeria become the first country in West Africa to demonstrate the trial 5G technology and applications.


Globacom, which is the second largest telecoms operator in the country by subscriber number, has made data connectivity a lot easier and cheaper, which earned it the name, The Grand Master of Data. With 27.90 per cent market share and with a subscriber base of over 50 million, Globacom has remained the second largest telecoms operator in the country, a position it took from Airtel, few years after it rolled out services in 2003. Globacom, which is the only indigenous telecoms company operating in Nigeria, launched its services in 2003 with per second billing system, which eventually cut down the high cost of telecoms services offering, at a time when other operators were offering services on per minute basis. Apart from single handily berthing its Glo 1 submarine cable at the shores of the country, to deepen broadband penetration, Globacom also launched the second phase of its Glo1 submarine cable, to provide broadband connectivity for the oil-rich South-south region.


Google, an American multinational technology company, with specialties in internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware, has opened its online platform for several business transactions that have benefitted Nigerian companies, especially technology start-ups. Google has introduced several products and solutions that are driving global business growth. In Nigeria, the Google Map enables people to navigate new areas with ease, have idea about traffic situations, and locate new places like restaurants, clubs hotels, among others. It has equally opened hot spots in various locations that will make businesses and people connect to the internet. With Google browser, people could connect to the world of possibilities, which makes Google a company to watch in 2020 for new possibilities.
The Google Impact Challenge is supporting organisations with game-changing ideas to create economic opportunity in their communities.


Instagram is a free, online photo-sharing application and social network platform that was acquired by Facebook in 2012. Instagram allows users to edit and upload photos and short video through a mobile app. Instagram is not only a tool for individuals, but also for businesses. Instagram allows users to edit and upload photos and short videos through a mobile app. Users can add a caption to each of their posts and use hash tags and location-based geotags to index these posts and make them searchable by other users within the app. Each post by a user appears on their followers’ Instagram feeds and can also be viewed by the public when tagged using hash tags or geotags. Users also have the option of making their profile private so that only their followers can view their posts.


Twitters is an American micro blogging and social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as “tweets.” Users access Twitter through its website interface, through Short Message Service (SMS) or its mobile-device application software app. With over 321 million active users as at February 2019, Twitter has made communications easier and has helped businesses to be visible online. Most advertisers use twitter to advertise their social gatherings and events, which has made it be become one of the brands to watch in 2020 for social connectivity.


YouTube is an American video-sharing platform headquartered in San Bruno, California. In 2006, Google bought the YouTube site for $1.65 billion, and since then, YouTube operates as one of Google’s subsidiaries.

YouTube is an online public communications site. The site allows for registered users to upload videos contents for viewing. People are also allowed to view the uploaded video contents or download them for viewing at a later time and day. Anyone who goes to the site can view the videos that are posted on the site. To view or download such videos, the person must have internet enabled device like Smartphone, tablets or computers that have subscribed data. Without data, it becomes difficult for anyone to view or download videos. YouTube has to a large extent, helped in curbing video piracy in Nigeria and the entire world. Video content producers see YouTube as channel to earn their money from their intellectual property (IP), which before now was abused by those who pirate video contents in discs and flash drives.


Interswitch is an Africa-focused integrated digital payments and commerce company that facilitates the electronic circulation of money as well as the exchange of value between individuals and organisations on a timely and consistent basis.
Founded by Mitchel Elegbe, a Nigerian, Interswitch developed its local payment card scheme called Verve that currently competes with the likes of MasterCard, a foreign payment card system.
Eleven years ago, Verve, a leading payments technology and card scheme business in Africa, was launched by Interswitch Group to reduce, and eliminate, the burden of cash payment settlement in Nigeria. Today, Verve classic card is accepted in Nigeria and 21 African countries, while the recently launched Verve Global Card is accepted in 185 countries, including Nigeria, Africa and favorite travel destinations such as US, UK & Dubai. With Verve card, Interswitch has positioned itself as a company to watch out in the Financial Technology space in 2020.


Flutterwave is an Application Programming Interface (API) that allows process credit card and local alternative payments, like mobile money across Africa. They make it possible for global merchants to process payments like a local African company. With the introduction of cashless policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which seeks to reduce physical cash handling by promoting cashless transactions, Flutterwave is helping merchants to process financial transactions with ease. It is a platform that merchants will definitely look up to in this 2020.


Paystack helps businesses in Africa get paid by anyone, anywhere in the world. Paystack merchants enjoy some of the best online payments success rates in Nigeria. Both registered and unregistered businesses are eligible to use Paystack. These are known as Registered and Starter Businesses respectively. Paystack’s combination of automated and manual fraud systems protect users from fraudulent transactions and associated chargeback claims. The solution is expected to make new financial waves in 2020, to further boost the cashless economy initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria.


Andela is a software engineering firm that work with dedicated team of software developers to develop solutions that meet individual and organisations’ needs, including societal needs. They work using your software development tools to meet tailored made ideas.
Andela software engineers are imbued with both the hard software engineering skills and the power skills to work as part of a high functioning team that develops software applications that solve critical issues. Many companies will be looking up to Andela for solutions that will address difficult challenges in 2020.


Talk of a brand that revolutionalised Nigeria’s juice market and Chivita will readily come to mind. Since 1996 when it entered, there hasn’t been any dull moment as it keeps innovating to meet consumers’ demand. The juice brand, manufactured by Chi Limited, was first introduced into the Nigerian market in 1996 as Chivita Premium Fruit Juice. Its name was changed in 2014 to Chivita 100% to reflect its 100% fruit juice offering. Chivita 100% is said to be a natural source of vitamins and minerals. With its incessant innovation and spread, the brand will surely shake the table in 2020.

Indomie Noodles

For close to two decades, competition in the noodles market has consistently been on the rise. Like in every war, the struggle has recorded casualties as well as giving birth to market icons. But in all, Indomie has remained strong as market leader.
Indomie was the pioneer noodle in Nigeria and has weathered the storm and recorded huge market acceptability. Though Indomie is not enjoyed a monopolistic status, it is easy to conclude that it has become a generic name for noodles in Nigeria.
Knowing well the power of children to influence purchasing habits in the family, Indomie has invested well in corporate social responsibility and sponsorships that are children focus.

Lake Rice

Known in some quarters as the Lagos-Kebbi Rice, Lake Rice is the first local rice brand in Nigeria that first threw caution into the winds in 2016 to challenge foreign brands. That was long before the closure of borders and call for consumption of local brands. Today, as Nigeria sets to become self-sustenance in the area of rice production, Lake Rice stands a good chance of becoming a market leader because of the investment already on the ground. It made the first biggest push shortly after entering the market with the partnership between Kebbi and Lagos States and subsequent advent in the Lagos mass market.

Notwithstanding the imported brands they have always craved for, Lagosians were quick to readjust and gave their new baby a trial.
During the build up to the yuletide period, Lagos State Government announced that it had commenced the sale of Lake Rice in preparation for the Yuletide celebrations, with opening of new centres across the state.

Wacot Rice

A lot of companies are presently taking advantage of the federal government’s agricultural agenda, which is focused on growing domestic production and the TGI Group, makers of Wacot Rice is one of them. It recently inaugurated its integrated rice mill at Argungu, Kebbi State. WACOT participates in the entire rice value chain, from seed multiplication and improving farming practices – to processing, branding and distribution. Its business model focuses on sustainability. To ensure that it achieves quality consistency in the supply of raw materials, it invests in building the capacity of farmers through farmer business schools. It is a strong believer in the federal government’s vision of attaining food self-sufficiency


THISDAY Newspapers and its broadcast arm, ARISE TV, are set to have another sibling, ARISE Play, which would be formally introduced on January 20, the day the newspaper would be celebrating its 25th year of uncommon contributions to the evolution of modern journalism in Nigeria.

The global streaming service that would tell African stories, celebrate Africans and people of African descent from all over the world, according to its Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Collins Khumalo, in a statement made available to THISDAY last night, would, however, roll out its full service on March 3, 2020.
Like its older siblings, ARISE Play is expected to play a refreshing and dominant role in the global streaming service and could be trusted immediately stand out.