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African Consumer Sentiment 2019

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African Consumer Sentiment 2019

Optimism and an Eagerness to Spend

Boston Consulting Group,

5 min read
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African consumers are optimistic about the future – but have yet to fully embrace modern retail channels. 

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Africa’s role in the future global economy will only grow: After all, 60% of the population added to the world in the next 30 years will be living on the continent. Yet a thorough understanding of Africa’s diversity and regional differences in consumer behavior is a prerequisite for businesses eager to tap into Africa’s market potential. The Boston Consulting Group’s African consumer survey provides a useful starting point.


A 2018 survey of “everyday urban” consumers in 12 African countries reveals an extraordinarily high level of consumer optimism. Eighty-six percent of survey participants, most of them living on a monthly household income of less than $500, felt positive about the future. This compares with only 48% of consumers expressing optimism in developed economies. Average incomes in Africa remain low – 3.5 times lower than in Asia – partially explaining the premium that Africans put on product quality as defined in terms of durability. The focus on quality is particularly strong among...

About the Authors

Pedro MarecosStefano NiavasTakeshi Oikawa, and Nomava Zanazo are regional experts with the Boston Consulting Group based in Nairobi, Luanda and Johannesburg. 

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