#Consumer trends in 9ja! What’s in it for local entrepreneurs?

According to UN Statistics, about 65% of the total population of Africa are below the age MARKET1of 35 years, and over 35% are between the ages of 15 and 35 years – making Africa the most youth full continent. By 2020, it is projected that out of four people, three will be on average 20 years old. More than 10 million young African youth arrive each year on the labour market.

Nigeria, ranked tenth in the world, is among the most populous and fastest growing countries in Africa. In 2015, the population was estimated at 183 million people.  Of which over 45% of that population are youths between ages 16 and 35 years making it the biggest youth market on the continent of Africa hence a future innovation and business opportunity.

To tap into the  potentials of a country like Nigeria, it is pertinent to understand lifestyle trends among the existing population in order to gain insights into opportunity areas for investment.

  • Age Complexity: Adults acting younger and wanting to look a lot younger. More Nigerian consumers within the ages of 25-50 years are choosing products and engaging in activities that make them feel and look younger. Senior citizens are craving for a second youth in order not to feel or act old by indulging in leisure and luxuries that promote youthfulness.  Sixty is the new fifty, seventy is the new sixty while retirees are not taking their age seriously and want to have fun as they see themselves as 12-15 years younger than they actually are.
  • Gender complexity-More Nigerian men are changing their attitudes to their personal looks and care within the last decade, thanks to fashion and celebrity opinion-formers including a stronger and more vibrant entertainment and movie industry. While more women are taking front row positions in the board room. Running the home is no longer an exclusive preserve of women, more men find themselves participating in the day-to-day running of the home.
  • Income complexity: High income groups spending on anti-luxury by looking for value for money offering while spending on needs and not wants while the lower-income groups are finding extra space for luxury within their budgets. In spite of the current economic downturn there is a still an emerging middle class that is willing and open to pay a little extra for innovation and differentiation as long as the right benefits and reason to believe appeal to their individualism. The 9ja consumer is asking for more from their brands as ‘basic’ no longer does it for them. There is a need to focus more on innovative functionality with boosts via emotional connection.
  • Networking and affiliation:The recent rise in the search for other streams of income due to prevailing economic situation has made more Nigerians embrace network and affiliate marketing as an alternative/add-on source especially among the middle class. The opportunity is becoming increasingly popular as the passive or residual income that can be made based on referrals is becoming attractive.
  • Life-stage complexity: Smaller nuclear families becoming the trend hence more individualism evident within families as the desire to pursue personal dreams and goals become more fore front especially as more urban women tend to consider professional and career growth side by side child rearing.
  • Health : More popular these days are the high value placed on health and well-being. As more people become more in tuned with the value of keeping healthy habits. Healthier and local options to food are now more common. The need to reduce calorie count increasing the demand for herbal and traditional products as physical and mental exercises, diet, nutrition and new regimes are becoming more expensive to access. The average Nigerian consumer is embracing nature and reducing consumption of non-organic based products by opting for nature based products.
  • Convenience: The average Nigerian consumer does not want to spend thirty minutes for an activity that take less time as multitasking is becoming increasingly common in homes such as online food orders, one stop shopping, outsourcing, etcetera. Visible usage and demand for convenient and ready to use single serve packages increasing demand for products with multi-functional, quick action benefits. Growing online shopping, dial-delivery and convenient stores at the fuel stations with mobile phone payments through Quick Teller, Kesh-Express, Paga etcetera becoming more popular
  • Sensory: More people open to travel whether for business or pleasure within or outside the shores of their country. Increased interest in stress relieving activities/ as more consumers show interest, accept and adopt other cultures and lifestyles. Experiential is the new indulgence. The trendy Nigerian consumer wants to experience and bond with every product or service he interacts with while still seeking affordable options in every offering.
  • Creativity & Sharing: sustained by social apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp. Consumers are getting more creative with their lifestyle in areas such as clothing, food, music, entertainment, fashion, art, etcetera and are not afraid to share what is going on in their lives.
  • Home values and attitudes: Building a safe, happy home where one can shut the door, protect oneself from danger and relax is no longer seen as being introverted rather it is making a choice about doing more from the comfort of your home and still not missing out on the ‘hustle’. The Nigerian consumer is exploring options that will make them spend more time at home with family.
  • Local attractions /pampering – Indulging in personal care routines such as taking more baths and setting aside time for luxurious personal care routines (Facials, Foot soaking, etc.) especially with so many online shopping platforms such as DealDey, JiJi.ng offering in home and on site pampering services. The instability of the naira against other international currencies has put an embargo on foreign vacations while more recreational centres are springing up across the country where family can go and relax without leaving the shores of the country.
  • Appy & Mobile savvy- It has suddenly become an ‘appy’ world  with a lot of businesses seeking to grow revenue through apps. Business now use apps to save time, improve their processes, reaching customers through notifications and making purchases easier for consumers.

What do these trends mean for local entrepreneurs?

Technological advancement, population boom and the recent economic downturn have effected change in consumer behavior hence entrepreneurs should be taking advantage of the new realities and innovate by seeking to solve a problem, address an issue and meet a need.

More consumers are taking advantage of product/service reviews to make their buying decisions. Increasingly more Nigerians are seeking healthier options for their lifestyle and are willing to pay premium for health enhancing products.

Nigerian consumers have become more budget conscious; entrepreneurs should begin to look at the prospects of creating businesses where consumers can choose to share trade or rent goods and services rather than buying them.

Buy made in Nigeria by Nigerians is becoming increasing popular as the growing desire to support the local economy. The buy- local trend has consumers seeking and willing to pay extra for quality fabricated products.

The opportunities for companies and entrepreneurs to  sell their products directly to consumers and encourage them to introduce other consumers through word of mouth now exist  with online affiliates and referrals after which the profits, commissions and bonuses are paid to sponsors. More FMCG companies and financial institutions can use this form of marketing to reduce their cost of advertising and increase their customer base. While smaller businesses can make extra income by making themselves ready affiliates.

There is no longer the need to own a physical structure before you can run a business- with online stores and apps designed to make the buying and selling process easy for both the seller and the buyer e.g http://www.shopify.com, http://www.dealdey.com, http://www.jiji.com. Life has become a lot easier for the budding entrepreneur.

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