Market researchers have identified culture as a veritable platform to unlock African potentials and deepen new markets. This is on the background of growing resurgence in Africans, both in diaspora and in the continent embracing their traditions as signposted in fashion, music and food.
The researchers across Africa who converged on Lagos for Africa Market Research Association, AMRA’s forum 2019 with the theme: ‘Building tomorrow, Africa leading’, strongly believe that the cultural shift of Africans offers new investment opportunities and new thinking in product formulation, packaging and marketing.
This new direction, according to the speakers, becomes significant as Africa is rising with consumer population expected to hit 2.4 billion from the present 1.2 billion in the next 30 years. “With this statistics and revelations, no firm will like to ignore the African market”, Ndeye Diagne of Kantar in Ivory Coast, said at the forum.
In her presentation, Ndeye said there is global trend around realism and this is being expressed well in Africa especially the youth who are eager to show their Africanism and African values. “There is emerging trend in Africans strongly identifying with their root and being African. Today, Africans are really expecting products and services that resonate with who they are.
“All along there had been disruption when it was all modernity influenced by the West and their media. This is still happening but we are taking the best of that and complementing it with our culture and roots and traditions”, she said.
To assist investors and entrepreneurs in creating products and services that resonate with the African consumers, Ndeye said researchers must therefore reflect the new shift to culture and traditions in the work they do. “To achieve this, researchers need to be closer to the consumer and understand them”.
Also speaking, Caroline Matiko of Gmaurich Insights, Kenya believed that Africans must embrace storytelling to promote their culture.
Joy Uyanwune, President, Nigerian Market Research Association said the primary reason of the conference is that African researchers have recognised their unique position in the development of Africa. “We have recognised that we are the force behind the growth of businesses, brands and products and services. Through market research, we advise on the direction for these products. Therefore we need to be careful with how we gather information and we need to be careful that we are using not just international standard, but methods that reflect who we are.
“As we say Africa rising, we must recognise that market research is a very critical aspect of making that to happen”, Joy said.
In his paper, Hakeen Fahm, Lagos State commissioner for Science and Technology regretted that potentials of marketing and social research have not been optimally utilized. “I have no doubt that leveraging technology/digital platforms for marketing and research will enhance the understanding of the African consumers’ wallet in a market of complexities”, he said.
The three-day forum which ended last weekend extensively underscored the importance of market researchers in leapfrogging Africa.