1. Financial habits
The 2019 shopper evolved and became a more financially aware shopper. With the pandemic, according to the Kantar COVID-19 Barometer study, 53% of Kenyans experienced pay cuts and unpaid leave. This forced more Kenyans to seek more financial knowledge, especially on saving. The 2021 shopper will opt to forgo luxuries to save their dime. Brands must be cautious of this and thus the need for investing in a balance of delivering customer convenience at a reasonable price. Many brands have opted to have more promotional materials and sales to either increase ROI and increase footfall in their stores and/or traffic in their digital apps. For example Dominos offers 2 pizzas if a customer uses their website to order. Eateries are using Apps like Uber eats and Bolt eats , to offer unprecedented offers of up to 50% on online orders.
2. Shifting Loyalties
According to McKinsey’s Covid-19 US consumer pulse, 36% of consumers tried a new product and more than half of this percentage were willing to incorporate the new product into their routine. Nowadays E-commerce is not only about online growth but about shifting loyalties. The online space is already saturated but brands need to invest in their x-factor, which the customer will consider. Could range from convenience to the uniqueness of the product. Companies like MacCoffee that primarily focus on white coffee had a new product launch of Non Dairy products. Being the first of its kind they catered to an audience that had been neglected by other coffee brands like Dormans. Brookside recently launched a Lactose-free variant, which will not only tap into the lactose intolerant market but also build brand loyalty.
The pandemic uncovered a lot of injustices happening around the world especially to the middle and low-class consumers. Ranging from Black Lives Matter in the USA to EndSARS in Nigeria, consumers became more aware of what brands had to say about social issues. ‘Cancel Culture’ became more paramount. People from all over the world showed their support through social media activism. That birthed the need for brands to use their platforms to guide the change they envision in the world. From now on, if brands want to be relevant they must understand what their audience cares about and meet them there. Brands like Equity Bank that launched their Wings to Fly program after the launch of free primary education and offered scholarships to students for their secondary and tertiary education. Also Mastercard, during the Black TransLives Matter movement, they launched a new phemomena dubbed ‘True Name’ that allowed customers who are transgender to register for a credit card with the their True Name. This campaign ended up winning global awards. Mastercard in Kenya, is running free Covid recovery programs in partnership with KEPSA for SMEs , which was the hardest hit sector in the country.
Influencers are a new marketing tool that most brands use to increase product or service relatability. Brands like Downy increased in sales, according to the One Pulse’s consumer report card, mostly because of the choice of influencer they picked. An influencer is someone who the consumers trust. Downy chose an influencer who is known, charismatic, relatable and has good standing in the community. According to Geopoll online influencers’ influence in Kenya and Nigeria done in August 2020, it revealed that 80% of Kenyan and Nigerian consumers would buy a product or pay for a service because of an influencer’s recommendation.
The 2021 consumer has changed and brands must learn to pivot. With increased anxiety and creativity in consumers, according to a study by Eurometer International, brands must strive to be
a) Flexible in their brand positioning
b) Agile enough to move with the consumer
c) Transparent in what they stand for
d) Harness technology to get the consumer where they are
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