Special Report: Assessing Consumer Market Potential in Sub-Saharan Africa

Apr 03, 2024|Fadekemi Abiru

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Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has significant economic diversity and potential, especially in consumer markets. This report, leveraging the Stears Consumer Market Classification Framework and Market Attractiveness Index, offers an insightful exploration of these markets, essential for strategic investors looking to navigate this dynamic landscape.

Our examination reveals that 59% of SSA’s consumer potential is distributed across 27 countries. This includes major economies like South Africa, which is expected to hit a nominal GDP of $401 billion in 2024, surpassing Nigeria as the largest SSA economy. Yet, it’s not just powerhouse nations drawing attention: countries such as Cape Verde, Senegal, Ethiopia, and Tanzania also display promising consumer market growth.

Regarding market maturity, 22% of SSA’s consumer market is classified as ‘Advanced,’ predominantly led by South Africa. This group, including Botswana, Namibia, and Eswatini, outstrips the Sub-Saharan African average GDP per capita by four times, indicating robust economic health and consumer spending.

Contrastingly, a significant portion of SSA’s markets, approximately 44%, are categorised as either ‘Maturing’ or ‘Developing’, representing a combined population of 579 million. These markets, like Nigeria and Ghana, are often characterised by their young demographics, reliance on commodities, and uneven consumer class structures.

Emerging markets constitute a notable 33% of SSA’s consumer potential, with over half of the world’s low-middle-income countries located in the region. Most of these Emerging markets are in East Africa, accounting for 56%, while the remaining 44% are distributed across Southern and Western Africa.

The varied stages of market development across SSA, from Advanced to Emerging, imply that companies must adopt tailored strategies to tap into these differing consumer segments.

Our analysis underscores the importance of understanding income variations within these markets. A deep dive into specific countries is included in this report, which further illuminates the distinct factors driving their consumer markets.

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