Africa needs nuanced approach

05 April 2012

NAIROBI: Marketers seeking to attract African shoppers must take a nuanced approach to both pricing and building customer loyalty, Nielsen has argued.

The research firm polled 5,000 people living in and around urban areas in seven nations across the continent, finding that 37% of respondents believe affordability was the primary criteria in shaping their purchase choices.

A further 31% of the panel tended to pick between offerings they had tried previously, exactly the matching number of participants who always acquired the same brand.

Only 6% of the sample typically opted for expensive products and 8% chose "any brand". Other factors playing a lesser role were big and small pack sizes, cited as important by 9% of interviewees each.

Upon assessing the potential media channels to reach consumers, TV had achieved a 90% penetration level, ahead of radio's 87% and mobile's 86%, easily the top three here.

Scores fell to 46% when discussing newspapers, 27% in relation to magazines and just 25% for the internet, according to the analysis.

Elsewhere, Nielsen broke down the target audience into three clusters. The first combined "trendy affluents" and "progressive affluents", which collectively make up some 28% of the population.

This group houses educated shoppers controlling 47% of regional income and 40% of consumer packaged goods (CPG) spending. Members of this segment are the most likely to shop at modern stores, use the web and pay a premium for good service.

"Balanced seniors" contributed 17% of the populace and "struggling traditionalists" another 10%. These two cohorts mainly feature older, married people buying from outlets such as markets.

Together, these communities account for 22% of income and 28% of consumer packaged goods expenditure. Price is their key purchase driver, but experimenting with new products is also common.

The final tier of customers is made up of "wannabe bachelors" entering the workforce, family-orientated "female conservatives" and "evolving juniors" – young people either studying or employed as unskilled labourers.

In sum, these shoppers comprise 45% of the total audience, claim 31% of earnings and 32% of CPG spending. They require basic essentials, use traditional purchase channels and frequently communicate using text messages.

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff