Divasumers, Femcentricity, Common sense pricing & Benevolent Bribery: 5 African consumer trends for 2016

This preview/summary of Africa’s 2016 consumer trend has been shared exclusively with TheNerve Africa by Trendwatching.com, a global provider of consumer trends and related business opportunities.

Despite slowing growth brands remained strong and new business opportunities were exploited by those advantaged more than others due to the kind of information they had access to. In 2016, it will be imperative for B2C professionals operating in Africa to understand the direction of consumerism across multiple dimensions.

The slump in commodities prices affected many countries in Africa this year but it was not enough to hold down African brands from competing globally and challenging the status quo of western domination in business. From South African manufacturers approached to produce clothing for the Royal Court of Sweden to Nigeria’s iRokotv’s Nollywood streaming deal with Netflix, a global leader in internet video streaming service, 2015 proved that the world is taking Africa seriously and 2016 will not be different.

Here’s a summary of the report, contextualized by region-specific macro forces and topical drivers of change.

DIVASUMERS

Adoption of on-demand is increasingly becoming a status play. It’s all about who has access and how services are accessed by 2016’s DIVASUMERS.

Traditionally, a signifier of affluence across the continent has been the ability to access services in ways not available to the masses. For example, having petrol delivered to one’s compound, as opposed to queuing for it at a petrol station, are privileges which resonate with many of today’s aspirational DIVASUMERS. Now, they’re demanding similar types of on-demand services that validate and enable them to flaunt their newly-acquired (relative) wealth.

Businesses that offer on-demand services will do well in 2016. But don’t forget: “… it’s about appealing to their status cravings, so think about services that previously only the upper crust were privy to, and democratize them for new audiences”.

BENEVOLENT BRIBERY

In 2015, 58 percent of Africans say they believe that corruption on the continent is getting worse. Africans have become more aware of the scourge and are more committed than ever to fight it. While they are supporting people they believe can fight corruption as leaders, they also want brands that use BENEVOLENT BRIBERY to encourage or even enforce good behaviour and better living.

2016’s brand-initiated, BENEVOLENT BRIBERY will be well-intended, positive and progressive (at last) – even if it won’t please everyone.

However, brands must understand their customer and pick their battles, while always remembering that outcomes count.

Be clear! Whatever you do, make sure the end goal is explicitly stated and understood. You certainly don’t want your consumers getting the wrong end of the stick!

COMMERCE SENSE PRICING

Despite the success of mobile money in some parts of Africa, statistics have shown that the continent has not yet found a way of addressing its financial services infrastructure gap, especially with heightened demand for newer, more innovative forms of payment. As things stand, even relatively affluent Africans are still not as financially enabled as their global counterparts. Consumers are starting to realize that their consumption expectations remain unfulfilled due in part to lack of ability to transact seamlessly with brands and businesses around the world and online. Therefore, in 2016, African consumers will expect brands to overcome payment convenience issues, problematic pricing and transaction-based obstacles by facilitating seamless and smarter COMMERCE SENSE PRICING.

Inventive brands won’t wait for the powers that be to lead the way, or imitate outdated models. Instead, they’ll implement COMMERCE SENSE PRICING strategies of their own accord, and will – in the long run – attract loyal, happy and most importantly, paying consumers.

FEMCENTRICITY

Discussions about gender equality headlined several events and movements during the year. Governments are taking women more seriously, giving them top positions in governance and the electorate trusting them with their votes. Rwanda now has the highest number of women parliamentarians worldwide as women there have won 63.8 percent of seats in the lower house. Businesses across the continent are actively responding to the call to bring women to the forefront of society.

Yet, in 2016, FEMCENTRICITY will mark the convergence of three key growth areas exemplifying female empowerment in the African consumer landscape:

 – FEMCENTRICITY through ongoing training and skills building initiatives.    

– Openly flaunting and boldly representing FEMCENTRICITY in male-dominated industries.  

– An innovation-rush of FEMCENTRIC products, services and experiences, tastefully executed.

ORGANIZED MASS

African remittances to and within the continent have reached $40 billion per year — about 5 percent of the continent’s GDP. However, approximately 75 percent of all transfers are informal and, therefore, impossible to track. But that is not the only informal part of Africa’s economy; the informal economy is large, most staying offline despite Africans becoming more increasingly used to the instant information that the internet provides. Regardless of the informality of their services, players in this space will have to step up, as African consumers are tired of poor service quality, lack of safety guarantees and little accountability – all commonplace issues in the informal sector.

In 2016, Africans will demand the same ease of information from informal service providers as they are from the powers that be. That means new connected platforms that organize and manage previously unaccountable service providers, bringing with them the culture of transparency, reviews, ratings and other feedback loops.

The full version of 5 African Consumer Trends for 2016 will be available in January on http://trendwatching.com/