As marketers eye emerging markets, the rise of the African consumer has shifted focus on exploring growth and opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa. A report from McKinsey’s Africa Consumer Insights Center states that Africa’s consumer-facing industries are expected to grow by more than USD 400 billion by 2020.
The biggest challenge for brands now is how to reach the African consumer for reasons ranging from consumers’ attitudes, behavior, and needs. Some may add the digital revolution in Africa a challenge of sorts but if global examples are anything to go, the solution for engaging the African consumers will come from digital.
A World Wide Worx report stated that Africa is leading the world in global mobile broadband growth. Nigeria, Africa’s most populated state, saw 18870 domains registered in 2014. The announcement of the USD 50 smartphone is set to drive mobile in Africa. Social media platforms such as WhatsApp, BBM, Facebook and Twitter have become a necessity for the youth that forms majority of the population. The market of tablets is looking towards Africa in 2015.
Essentially, digital landscape in Africa will leapfrog significantly more than some of the other fast growth markets opening up newer opportunities for driving businesses, creating growth drivers and evolving the consumer.
In such a background, marketing strategies must be revisited. Argument can be made on the relevance of traditional media mixes and whether an added layer of digital will solve purpose at the moment but future leaders will understand that the beginning point of addressing the new African consumer would be from scratching the drawing board and beginning again. When that is done, digital will not become an added layer but come at the core and that is when a new world of opportunities and challenges will emerge.