Potential for Kenya to ramp up manufacturing of televisions and fridges
Kenya has the potential to become a major producer of consumer electronics and appliances, specifically televisions and refrigerators, to serve both the domestic and surrounding markets, according to a study by Manufacturing Africa, a UK government-funded programme supporting investment in the manufacturing sector.
The thriving consumer electronics market in East Africa is expected to reach $5.1 billion by 2030 due to population and income growth.
Televisions and fridges are the consumer electronics goods with highest potential for manufacturing scale-up in the East Africa region (defined as Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi, South Sudan, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Malawi, Seychelles and Democratic Republic of Congo). These products are relatively easy to assemble and they have sizable regional markets, with televisions valued at $624 million and refrigerators valued at $475 million in 2019.
There is potential to build a regional hub for electronics manufacturing in Kenya. The country is deemed an attractive location for manufacturing due to its abundance of export processing zones, higher purchasing power compared to regional peers, a fast-growing economy with projected annual GDP growth of over 5% from 2022 to 2027, and an educated and competitive workforce. Kenya also accounts for 21% of total regional spend on consumer electronics.
By 2030, there could be an import substitution opportunity of $978 million driven by the widening gap between demand and production for televisions and fridges. Potential manufacturers could set up basic final assembly or integrated manufacturing of televisions and fridges.
Approximately 45% of the regional television market comprises entry-level units. This prominence of budget-friendly brands could be due to the cost-consciousness of consumers. In Kenya, high-end products have a slightly larger market share, likely due to the higher purchasing power of customers.
The production of televisions in Africa is limited, with only basic assembly capabilities present in East Africa. Currently, Egypt and South Africa are the only African countries with integrated TV manufacturing facilities. In Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria, basic assembly operations are dominated by brands catering to the lower end of the market.
The regional market for refrigerators is dominated by high-end brands, accounting for 40% of the market. The higher market share of high-end brands in the greater region compared to Kenya may be because of the lower availability of more affordable private-label brands outside of Kenya. Entry-level and mid-range brands make up 60% of the fridge market, with local private-label brands being prevalent in the mid-range segment.
Refrigerator manufacturing has a larger presence on the continent compared to televisions, however, it is limited in the East Africa region. Only two global brands, Samsung and Liebherr, have a presence in the East African Community. Smaller local brands primarily cater to their domestic market and nearby countries.