The internet is an integral part of African economic growth in every sector and times without number, this publication has aired some articles on how the internet has helped the new age, an epoch that stands on the backbone of the world wide web which aids in pushing sectors like art, music, fashion, film, technology and other areas into a more refined mainstream audience that cares about each of these content with a more profound approach. By having access to the internet information has become more widespread, it’s a form of education and a daily means of living, anyone would struggle without it, regardless of our third-world state. In recent times, African countries have been able to rise above a few problems to showcase potentials no one in the world had ever given them the chance to. However, one aspect that’s been seemingly slow to meet up with the advancements the internet boom has brought to the continent is the commercial perspective of it all.
Everything happens online, it’s a sphere to dream, a means for us to share ideas, to share our skills, creativity, art, music, passion and most of all ourselves. Social media allows us to share more of ourselves with each other, there’s a connectivity that’s binding us all as one, but it seems to stop at praise on the cyberspace. Online foreign media in general, the internet rave is attached to the commercial interaction. The buzz each idea or co-operation faces effects the reality and liability of the real world but that hasn’t happened yet in our third world state. Having a simple buzz is not equivalent to your consumers, it feels like the African society isn’t ready to support the Africa irl. There’s a general idea of supporting foreign structures through their online marketing but when it comes to African brands, ideas or content there seems to be a lack of trust leading to a lack of physical support beyond the internet.
With 50% of the continent expected to have access to the internet by 2025, online shopping could account for 10% of retail sales, or $75 billion, according to a McKinsey report (pdf). Google points out that online searches on the continent are rising with commercial queries showing a significant jump.
If brands, ideas, and content being generated through social media and internet never generate value in the real world, then there can’t be a structure for growth. We frequently see a new avenue failing because the general support of the people can’t seem to transcend into their reality and this creates a populace without the confidence to appreciate what they claim to love by supporting and participating commercially. Years ago we didn’t have activities, ideas, creative companies and African brands with an edge of pushing a demographic to be involved in local mediums that are as engaging as the one we seek from our foreign counterparts or on our tv screen yet, we found ourselves still spending money to have a taste. Now all this is being created in our environment with our ethos and aesthetic embedded in it. Supporting alone through social media can only go so far, physical support is needed to actualize this new economy we’re building. The way of African businesses and brand interaction is changing, it’s more evolved for the millennials to feel connected from big brands to small brands, each one is owning their strategy to capture this new market, WE ARE THE NEW MARKET. We dictate trends and control narratives, which is why our engagements beyond the internet really matter. Go to an art show and Invest in art, buy a ticket to an underground music event, go to a pop-up, experience a festival, be part of the new system being created.
Three points projected by a McKinsey report indicating the rise of African Consumers:
- Focus where it matters. Cities offer the best opportunity: Urban Africa is forecast to contribute nearly 40 percent of GDP growth. But companies may be wise to bypass high-profile megacities, such as Cairo, Johannesburg, and Lagos, for midtier cities, like Abidjan and Rabat, which are more accessible, have less competition and offer better profit margins.
- Develop locally relevant, quality products. Companies can better tailor products to local markets if they understand what quality means for African customers and know their preferences, lifestyles, and daily needs.
- Hit the right price point. Since affordability is critical, companies may have to re-engineer products to hit a specific price point. The necessary moves may include offering lower-cost versions, smaller sizes, or alternative payment models.
I’ll end by saying that as much as our third world state affects us all and puts quite a number of millennials below the average income earner, the point of being in tune with the new economy is, it’s one created for us, by us, by creating value in our way of life. The more we try, the better it all becomes.