Nielsen was another organisation to present results of their research at the on-going 16th annual Pamro conference, taking place in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Michael Bratt takes a look at their research and what it can tell media players and advertisers about the African market and consumers who play in it.
The main message of Nielsen’s presentation was that even though African people are part of the same continent they cannot all be lumped together. Africa has a diverse set of consumers across the spectrum and their priorities differ in most cases.
But there are some factors which are consistent across the different markets. Nielsen says what is important is understanding what matters most to consumers. Of the respondents that Nielsen spoke to 80% prioritise spending time with family, 78% value the opinion of women in the household and 77% believe in respect for elders. These were the values that they believe in most. Conversely only 33% prioritise spending time with friends, 36% are the first to try new things, and 39% say friends seek their advice about technology. These elements matter less to them.
Differences also arise depending on geographical location. While 97% of respondents from Botswana prioritise spending time with family, only 65% of Ghanaians believe it. Similarly while only 29% of Ethiopians will buy something they like, even if they did not plan to buy it, 59% of Mozambicans will do it. One factor that is consistent across the continent is that consumer goods are the biggest share of spend “With interest in and ability to spend growing”.
During the presentation Nielsen highlighted the growing market of mobile internet. They said the key for advertisers is the use of “Integrated, cross platform campaigns which are critical, with messaging for the right audience”.
The language used could also impact a successful campaign with “Local languages being favoured in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Madagascar and Mozambique”.
Nielsen also warned that internet connectivity is subjective with many African countries having very low levels of penetration, including Zambia at 10%, Uganda at 15% and DRC at 19%.
But there is good news. Nielsen revealed that during their research they came across a group of people which they referred to as social, savvy, trendy aspirants, the people who are increasingly becoming aware of and utilising social media. Thus mobile is increasingly leapfrogging more traditional forms of carrying out everyday tasks. For example, the research showed that 83% of urban Ethiopians have mobile phones but only 5% of them have transistor radio. But 83% listen to the radio with 57% listening daily using their mobile phones.
In terms of marketing brands the research showed that the citizens of the three countries most likely to buy advertised brands includes Tanzania, Mozambique and Ghana while Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia citizens are least likely to buy advertised brands.
Despite the rise of mobile for everyday tasks when it comes to advertising broadcast and outdoor mediums still hold all the cards. But in terms of which medium provides the best return on investment, online is king, followed by out of home and then print.
Nielsen stressed that innovation is key to marketing brands in Africa, but innovative ways that are created specifically for and resonate with the citizens of the continent.
The top tip that Nielsen gave was affordability, availability and word of mouth are the top divers of product choice. In their research the group found that “54% products fail in Nigeria because they are unable to stand out, 48% fail in East Africa because of insufficient consumer pull, and 64% fail in South Africa due to inadequate value. Where people shop is also an important factor to consider when pushing your brands. Traditional trade is still the preferred option in most parts of Africa, while modern trade is slowly growing particularly in Kenya, Zambia and Mozambique.
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