How Ghana's changing consumer trends impact on communication.

Author:Anjaria, Jay

Changing consumer needs and the rapid evolution of the media in Ghana are leading to dramatic changes in the ways brands communicate their messages. New, holistic approaches are needed, as Jay Anjaria and Amit Agrawal explain.

As the famous African quote goes "If the rhythm of the drum beat changes, the dance step must adapt", it is critical that as a consumer-centric business we should be keenly looking at the change, adapt to it and in some cases, lead the change.

There are three broad areas in which we can capture the changing consumer trends--consumer needs, media and messaging.

Consumer needs

Consumers in Ghana have also undergone a dramatic change due to various changes in the social and economic structures.

* Becoming more urban-centric: The consumer is moving from rural areas to urban cities like Accra and Kumasi, the urban population is also growing five times faster than in rural communities (Source: World Bank estimate--United Nations, World Urbanisation prospects reports).

* With increasing education and urbanisation the consumer has become more aspirational, which also reflects in the brand/product choices they make. There is a shift from a traditional joint family to a nuclear family in the cities where both husband and wife work. This is critical data as brands will need to come up with solutions targeting this consumer profile.

* Consumers look at costs but are very conscious about the quality and hence overall value of the offering. Packaging and advertising play an important role in their buying choices.

* Most of the buying still happens from table tops, neighbourhood general stores or the peculiar "go slow" vendors. But it is slowly shifting from cities to supermarkets, modern retail chains to online shopping.

* There is a silent but swift revolution happening due to the advent of the internet and rise in popularity of social media platforms. It is impacting the way in which the consumer decides, buys and gets exposure. The younger consumer spends more time on their mobile, making it the most critical source of accessing information.

* At 35% Ghana is one of the largest internet penetrated countries on the African continent.

* Mobile penetration is 130% of the total population.

* Facebook and Instagram have the largest active social media advertising audience.


If we go back in history, advertising in Ghana really started taking root in around the 1930s.

Karl Hartenstein's book Anibue ("Civilization") (1932)...

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