Tag Archives: Africa

Purchasing Patterns in Cash Based Markets and Informal Economy

By | July 18, 2015

When cash flow is irregular and not always unpredictable, both in amount and frequency, such as it is for the majority earning a living in the informal economy, buyer behavior is not quite the same as for mainstream consumers with access to credit cards and regular paychecks. I’ve quite often made reference to how operating primarily… Read More »

The values gap in banking the unbanked

By | July 6, 2015

Back in 2008, after my first deep dive into the African consumer market, on behalf of Samsung, I’d identified something I called the “values gap” as an intangible barrier between the first world’s consumer brands, and the mindset and worldview of the majority market, then referred to (erroneously) as the “Bottom of the Pyramid.” The… Read More »

Upward Mobility is Changing Base of the Pyramid Consumer Aspirations

By | May 5, 2015

I’d observed earlier that upward mobility wasn’t simply about increasing incomes, but also a change in mindset, world view and values. Aspirational consumer behaviour trickles downward faster, as strivers seek to emulate the status signals sent by those they perceive as “arrived”. The emerging middle class numbers may indeed be uncertain, as statisticians debate over… Read More »

“No Ordinary Disruption” – Africa’s Transformation

By | May 3, 2015

McKinsey consultants have released a new book – No Ordinary Disruption – looking at global mega trends and market forces that are forcing a rethink of the foundations of their intuitive knowledge. Assumptions are to be challenged and questioned, they say, as these changes impact a deeper transition in the way the world works. Even… Read More »

Market forces transforming the African retail landscape

By | April 16, 2015

Cosmetics giant L’Oreal’s partnership with pan African e-commerce platform Jumia signals a big shift in the way consumer packaged goods companies  address the challenge of reaching the emerging African consumer classes in a cost effective manner. A combination of market forces and on the ground realities points to this solution as a sweetspot for optimal… Read More »

Growth in Africa’s informal trade with China needs more formal diplomacy

By | April 15, 2015

China Southern Airlines announces 3 flights a week between Nairobi and Guangzhou. This can only be a signal of increasing informal cross border trade between the greater African continent and China’s manufacturing hub. Earlier, we’d noted the importance of this trade for Kenya Airways when they announced the opening of a ticket office in Nairobi’s… Read More »

Quality of service at the last mile will make or break African e-commerce startups

By | April 14, 2015

With new e-commerce startups sprouting up everyday, competitive advantage in the urban African context will boil down to their quality of delivery and logistics managment. Given the lack of infrastructure such as home addresses, post codes with embedded information, or  as is the case in India – the last mile of delivery in the form… Read More »

The Rise of the African KINGs

By | April 13, 2015

The Abraaj group announces yet another African investment fund, one which emphasizes the following: The sectors include consumer goods and services, consumer finance, and resource and infrastructure services in the core countries of Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, South Africa and Kenya.  While South Africa tends to be de facto in most continental investments, note the… Read More »

“Cheap is expensive.”

By | April 10, 2015

Mama said something very profound when I asked her which of those kerosene stoves she would purchase for herself, “Cheap is expensive,” she said, making a moue at the low cost imports jostling for space in her kitchengoods shop on the outskirts of Kibra. While the limitations of cash in hand may drive her customer’s… Read More »

Marketing the Unbranded: Avocados on the side of the Road

By | April 9, 2015

These stickers caught my attention. The only one of a long line of makeshift wooden stalls by the side of a highway in Central Kenya to display what looked like branded avocados. Were they part of some cooperative or horticulture exporter’s leftovers? They turned out to belong to Maude, the ambitious and aspirational market woman… Read More »