Marketers need to be acutely aware of the attitudes and expectations of Africa’s growing group of Generation Z consumers
Given the large number of young people as a percentage of the overall African population, the continent’s marketers need to be acutely aware of the attitudes and expectations of Generation Z consumers – those aged approximately 5-20.
‘Strategic Marketing Africa’, the magazine of the African Marketing Confederation (AMC), reports in its latest issue (Issue 4 2016) that this group is being heralded as ‘a game-changing generation’ because of how convincingly influenced it is by technology, most notably the Internet and mobile connectivity.
Nigerian market development and business management specialist, Adebayo Alonge, says of Gen Z: “As digital natives, they live in the technology, social media and Internet ecosystem. Since they live in this ecosystem, it cannot be said that they are distracted by it; they simply do not know any other way of life.”
He also believes that entrepreneurship is in their DNA. “Nigerian youths do not have ambitions to be owners of banks or to make ‘small money’ in careers as white-collar workers,” he says. “They seek to make wealth quickly by creating things like their own music labels and technology start-ups.”
But circumstances obviously vary from country to country within Africa. Addis Alemayehou, a communications and PR expert from Ethiopia, points out that one of the things which distinguish Ethiopian youth from those in other places is limited online activity due to low Internet penetration. So, while members of the country’s Gen Z are eager to participate in social media, it’s not easy to do.
Ranjana Foogooa, a Mauritian-based digital marketer, notes that while the island nation has a high level of Internet penetration, there are cultural and lifestyle aspects – including buying power – that limit uptake of mobile-based Internet and social media.
However, those Generation Z consumers in Mauritius that do embrace smartphones are important social influencers and will rapidly embrace social media-based marketing messages and promotions.