Ten African consumer trends to run with – and profit from – in 2015

Trendwatching.com recently identified 10 must-know African consumer trends for 2015. How we made it in Africa briefly looks at each of the trends.

1. Heart on sleevers: brands embracing culture

In 2015 proudly-African consumers will demand that brands move away from bland consumerism by creating products that reinforce important facets of their cultures and beliefs. An example of this trend is South African fashion label MaXhosa by Laduma, which designed a knitwear collection suitable for Xhosa initiates who, by tradition, must dress in new dignified formal clothing for six months after initiation.

2. Info-chameleons: welcoming unconventional information channels

According to Trendwatching, Africans are tired of contrived, censored and dull information. They are increasingly aware of information gaps left by mainstream media and government. People are looking for brands that can plug these gaps in ways that are truly engaging.

One platform that is doing just this is Senegal’s JT Rappé which delivers local weekly news via YouTube rap videos in both French and Wolof. Last year popular South African radio presenter Gareth Cliff quit mainstream radio to launch to Cliff Central, an ‘uncensored, unhinged, unradio’ station, which streams shows online and on instant messaging platform WeChat.

3. Benevolent brands: demanding they become ‘nicer’

In 2015, Africans will demand that brands act in ways that benefit society as a whole. Benevolent brands will win the trust of the future middle class.

In South Africa, Coca-Cola has teamed up with BT Global Services to install Wi-Fi enabled kiosks in rural communities. People can visit the kiosks to research school projects and send emails. “Providing access to free Wi-Fi will enable students and schoolchildren in the area to increase knowledge through research, while also giving entrepreneurs and small business owners in the community the opportunity to manage some of their business aspects online,” commented David Visser from Coca-Cola’s IT business services division.

4. Destination Africa: smart brands will cater for African tourists

Africans are expected to increasingly travel within their own continent. Smart brands will welcome and cater to African tourists, says Trendwatching. And companies don’t have to be in the tourism industry to profit from ‘destination Africa’ travellers.

Online platform Tastemakers Africa is tapping into this trend by showcasing the continent’s cultural scene to young African travellers. It calls itself “the world’s first mobile app and content destination for finding and buying hip experiences in Africa”.

5. Better tech: forward-thinking applications of technology

Trendwatching expects 2015 to see consumers embracing technology that truly improves their lives.

An example is the Backup Memory project, a mobile app – developed by Samsung Tunisia and the Tunisian Alzheimer Association – for people with Alzheimer’s disease as well as their families. Whenever a friend or family member enters the Alzheimer sufferer’s field of intimacy, he or she receives a notification on their phone reminding them of the identity of that person, as well as memories, photos and videos related to them.