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African consumers 'eager to spend'

News, 11 July 2016

JOHANNESBURG: Some 88% of African consumers are optimistic about the future, rising to above 90% in the major markets of Egypt, Kenya and Nigeria, and this is reflected in their eagerness to buy new products, a recent study has shown.

For its African Consumer Sentiment 2016 report, the Boston Consulting Group polled more than 11,100 adult consumers across 11 African countries and found 85% agree with the statement, "It seems like every year there are more things I want to buy".

This is a significant increase from the 75% who shared that sentiment in 2013 and suggests African consumers, at least in some countries, now have a greater sense of financial well-being.

The comprehensive survey covered Algeria, Angola, Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa and it found Egyptian and Moroccan consumers, in particular, are buying more luxury items.

Consumers in those two countries have the highest levels of financial security (more than 85%), although by contrast there are low levels of financial security in Angola, Côte d'Ivoire, DRC, and even South Africa.

However, taken together, the proportion of respondents who say, "Even when my financial situation is bad, I'll spend a little extra money to treat myself" is still significantly higher on average than in developed markets and other emerging economies.

BCG also described Africans as "discerning consumers", who make well-informed purchasing decisions and are willing to pay more for quality, especially for non-grocery items.

According to the survey, 82% agree with the statement, "I buy less in quantity but pay more for quality" and that compares with 73% in 2013.

Also compared with 2013, the findings suggest brands are becoming less important to African consumers' overall sense of identity because the share of respondents who agree with the statement, "Brands say something about who I am" dropped from 67% to 56%.

And in terms of brand leaders, BCG found African consumers prefer global brands, with Nokia and Samsung their favourite mobile electronic brands by a large margin, and Adidas scoring well in clothing, particularly in Algeria and Angola.

Interestingly, the survey also found that price is typically not the most important factor when African consumers decide what to buy and it advised brands entering African markets to "focus on hitting the right price points without sacrificing quality".

Data sourced from BCG Perspectives; additional content from Warc staff