Like marketers, Africans are really accustomed to adapting to change and disruption. Load shedding was worse this past year than the previous eight combined. Cold and flu season started to feel like a year-round norm. And Africa experienced its highest level of inflation in over 20 years.
Many brands responded by offering the best value possible to help consumers along. In turn, people rewarded these brands by choosing them over competitors.
Though we can’t predict the challenges of this year, it’s safe to say that value will continue to be attractive to consumers. So review the past year’s top stories as guidance and inspiration for your 2024 plans.
1. South Africans feel value is worth paying for
The time between consideration and purchase is generally quite short for the African consumer. For 1 in 5 South Africans, the purchase is made right away and 32% say they make their purchase in less than a week.1
Underpinning all of this is a laser focus on value. And, as a part of this, the vast majority of consumers in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa agree that loyalty programmes are important to them.2
Value insight for 2024: Clearly communicate the value you offer over your competitors.
2. Reaching consumers where they are is more valuable than ever
Load shedding will be a reality in South Africa until at least 2024. In that time, marketers are still expected to reach their consumers, despite viewers not being able to watch TV when the lights are out. Digital platforms like YouTube can help fill in the gap and reach consumers when they move on to smaller screens during load shedding.
Value insight for 2024: Consumers are still viewing video even when it’s light out, so make sure you’re reaching them on every screen.
3. Brands that act responsibly are valuable to people
Value extends beyond a product’s price and offering. African consumers want to know that the brand they’re buying from can demonstrate value. They want brands to be open and transparent, keep promises, and provide good customer service.
Value insight for 2024: Ensure your value proposition extends to the consumer experience and overall consumer journey.
4. The value of short form video
Even in the age of the streaming wars with seemingly infinite budget TV shows, people in Africa aren’t shrugging off short-form video as poor quality entertainment.
Viewers in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa say they are less likely to describe "good content" as coming from an established production company or studio, or having a predictable structure and cadence.3
In fact, they are so engaged with short-form video that fan uploaded YouTube Shorts featuring Rema’s Top 3 Billboard Hot 100 hit, “Calm Down” saw the song’s viewership surge 500%.
Value insight for 2024: Short-form video is an effective way of plugging into culture.
5. Consumers search for value even during quiet periods of marketing
Every industry has its “quiet period”: a time of year where marketing is largely inactive due to the belief that consumers are less focused on the particular industry’s offering at a given time.
Financial services brands have traditionally treated December this way. The long-held belief was that by the time the festive season rolls in, consumers are no longer looking for financial solutions — they’re already on holiday and too busy to consider marketing messaging.
Standard Bank challenged this notion by launching a campaign built on the promise of hope, change, and optimism — the kind of inspiration people are looking for heading into a new year.
Value insight for 2024: If you have something valuable to share, consumers will listen — no matter the time of year.
6. Why it’s important you offer value all year round
Quiet periods are usually the consequence of seasonal marketing. It will always be important to prioritise marketing budgets, however, leaving entire gaps throughout the year risks leaving money on the table.
Take South Africa’s pharmaceutical industry for example. Cold and flu season used to run from May to June. In recent years, however, the idea of a cold and flu “season” has become a thing of the past.
While search interest for colds and flu continues to peak between May and June, it only accounts for a quarter of annual search interest.4 That means 75% of search interest takes place the rest of the year. Solely focusing efforts on the flu season as we know it risks ignoring three quarters of potential sales.
Value insight for 2024: Stay on top of consumer trends to ensure your brand is visible at the right time, all the time.
It’s easy to think that when times are tough, consumers’ knee jerk reaction is to cut back on spending. If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that despite the state of the economy, time of year — or seemingly most any other factor — if a brand makes the value of their offering clear to the consumer, they are likely to choose it over another brand.