How Coronavirus affected customer behaviour in Kenya

According to a report published by the marketing agency Scanad in July this year, coronavirus was responsible for changing customer behaviour in Kenya. Consumers' purchasing power has diminished, forcing them to adapt to a new way of living. 

The report shows that more than 80 per cent of consumers are dealing with financial uncertainty — around 40 per cent are financially vulnerable, while more than 25 per cent are hoping for a better financial situation in three months. The rest are hopeful of an economic rebound in six to twelve months. 

Shrunken wallets, pay cuts, and an uncertain future led to a different perspective when it comes to shopping. Aside from taking care of their health and safety, people had to adjust their needs to the current situation while providing for their households.

Retailers move to e-commerce

For a long time, retailers in Africa didn't acknowledge the importance of an online presence. Most of them considered internet retail as unnecessary. On the other hand, already active e-retailers struggled with finding a formula for gaining customers' confidence.

The enormous popularity of social media and the proven power of the internet convinced retailers to look for their spot in the ever-growing e-commerce space. Now, at the end of the year, we can say that 2020 was the year in which internet retail flourished in Africa. 

The revolution of the COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed the way people organize their everyday activities. Staying safe became everyone's number one priority. People from all over the world were advised to keep their distance and stay away from crowds. All of a sudden, stores, supermarkets, and shopping malls are places nobody wants to spend time in. 

The online world during the Pandemic 

When staying at home became the most vital act of responsible conduct, people in Kenya had to adapt. In times like this, the internet has proven to be a significant ally. People have moved almost all their activities to the online sphere. 

Customers had to change their purchasing habits. People avoided going to stores and shopping malls, so they did their shopping online. Coronavirus was responsible for closed restaurants, cinemas, theaters, and stopped the entertainment industry. 

If people wanted to eat a dish from their favourite restaurant, they would order it online. Going to the movies today means watching it online. Nightclubs and casinos are closed. People enjoy their favourite games of chance in online casinos and similar platforms. The concept of going out has transformed into having a drink in your home, listening to your favourite music and watching whatever takes your fancy. Fortunately, there is YouTube and a lifetime of content to peruse. 

Limited Purchase to necessities 

Coronavirus has jeopardised the world's economy. People are either losing their jobs or dealing with pay cuts. Household budgets have shrunk, and families need to adjust their needs to the current situation. Some have limited their purchases to bare necessities, while others struggle to afford even those. 

No one is immune to the ongoing crisis. Even people with a better financial situation are thinking about the future. Our present is uncertain — who knows what will happen in a couple of months in terms of economy and employment. 

Customers have become price-aware, but some of them are staying loyal to certain brands. Those who are in a better position when it comes to finances still pay attention to quality, and they are ready to spend more, especially on healthy foods and hygiene needs. 

Mobile money has gained currency

Africa is the largest mobile money market in the world. According to GSMS (the global mobile telecommunications industry association), the value of mobile transactions in SSA during 2019 was $456 billion. 

Coronavirus didn't make mobile money popular, but the current crisis had a lot to do with the increased use of it. Some mobile money platforms, including M-Pesa, are making procedures easier by eliminating charges for small transactions and raising the maximum amount that can be held on accounts. 

The fact is many households will stretch their budgets to breaking point. Coronavirus already threatens supply chains leading to an acceleration in price inflation. Consumers at the bottom of the economic pyramid will be more price-aware and will limit their purchasing needs. 


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