Africa Goes Digital: Reaching the Target Audience

The Impact of the Internet on African Consumers
The Internet was designed to deliver convenience, quickness, and power;
power to know everything, power to connect with favorite brands, power to
buy and sell online. And Africa is no exception. Entrepreneurs across the
continent began embracing the power of the internet and setting up their
online stories. Then, COVID-19 hit, and everything changed.

Rethinking Shopping Habits
Let’s discuss how African consumers rethink their shopping habits. As a
marketer, the best way to maximize the return on investment of media
spending is to truly understand consumer behavior. Considering such
tendencies may be a turning point for whether you are able to achieve
long-term success or not.
African Online Consumer Behavior
Offline or online shopping? Africans choose both options. With the growth in
internet penetration and technology adoption, Africans are gradually
embracing internet technology and online shopping. This process has grown
since the pandemic hit and forced users to rethink their shopping habits.
The internet offers a safe and convenient way to purchase items without
leaving the comfort of home, so in Africa, just like everywhere else, users
have come to choose online more often. Based on research, the number of
online shoppers will increase by 40.19% by 2027.
Source: Statista
However, offline shopping still remains popular across many African
countries. African users often choose and prefer in-store shopping (mainly,
corner-shop or dukas) where they can see, touch, and examine items before
making a purchase. Also, it may be related to limited access to the
internet, the importance of personal relationships in African culture and,
what’s more important, affordability.
For instance, Kenyans may purchase products in any of the Naivas or
Quickmart supermarkets in Nairobi or one of the malls in the city. However,
many consumers in Kenya can’t afford to do that as the goods there are
expensive and malls are too few — the largest of Kenya’s supermarket chain
Naivas, for example, has only 84 shops throughout the entire country. So
it’s much easier to purchase necessary goods that are cheaper in street
shops in the nearest corner with no travel expenses, and Kenyans just do it.
Online Research and Social Media
Although Africans shop both online and offline, researching online has
picked up across Africa. Moreover, first discovery via the internet
touchpoints is a key trend in the region and the main step of upper-funnel
discovery and awareness step of customer journeys. Consumers across the
region are thoroughly researching products online, and for many, social
media and search engines are the main sources of brand research.

Source: DataReportal
Social networks are one of the main drivers of customer behavior. Social
media, such as Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, play a significant role in
Africa’s customers’ daily life — they rely on social media to discover new
brands, read reviews, follow influencers, and make purchase decisions.
According to DataReportal, users use social media not only to keep in touch
with friends and family but also to find new brands and products. Reasons
may be different from town to town but generally they have one common
characteristic — they drive customer behavior. So, it’s important to
Diverse Consumer Groups
When it comes to online shopping, younger generations are not the only
ones active in the digital world. While Zoomers are the biggest generation
in the world, Africa isn’t an exception. However, it’s important not to
overlook older generations. For instance, Kenyans aged 55 and up are more
likely to shop online, with 41% of users in this age group having made
purchases online, compared to 30% of Zoomers and Millennials.
Price is a crucial factor influencing consumer behavior. Many Africans are
price sensitive across different product categories. This often leads to
choosing more affordable products but still seeking quality products at the
same time. At the same time, consumers want more flexibility in how they
shop. In South Africa, in-store shoppers try to avoid long queues (50% of
in-store shoppers) and stock shortages (28% of in-store shoppers) as one of
the main pain points.
Strategies to Reach African Consumers Efficiently
Try to build long term relationships: Comprehensive ad strategies should
lead users from awareness to the “embedded” stage, building emotional
connections powered by personalization and inspiration to action.
Provide personalized experience: Personalization is key to connecting with
the audience. Brands may use dynamic creative optimization to provide
relevant messages to the target audience.
Run, test, analyze, improve: Understand consumer behavior through real ad
campaign data. Testing and analyzing different components of the ad campaign
can help in adjusting strategies for better results.
Run advertising on social media: Social media platforms like Instagram,
Facebook, and TikTok offer various ad formats to engage users. Social media
campaigns can increase engagement, awareness, and revenue.

Implement DOOH ad into your strategy: Digital out-of-home advertising (DOOH)
in public places can drive brand awareness and increase conversions,
especially near places where users may buy products.
Utilize Programmatic advertising: Programmatic advertising based on AI &
ML algorithms can show relevant advertisements to the target audience,
simplifying the advertising process.
African consumers are gradually going digital, and brands need to consider
this trend in their advertising strategies. Understanding the diverse
consumer groups and tailoring strategies accordingly can lead to successful
outcomes in the African market.

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