Survival fight for top brands as rivals eat into traditional market
By Dominic Omondi | April 4th 2017
Brands that once straddled their respective sectors like colossus are today fighting for survival as competition heats up. Experts blamed it on failure to change with time and warn that if they do not style up, they could join the likes of Kodak and Nokia.
Here are key brands either fighting hard to maintain their position at the top or have already been dethroned.
Tusker: Although Tusker remains one of Kenya's top brands, it is slowly losing its position as the country's favourite beer going by its declining sales.
For long, East Africa's most loved beer has faced intense competition from other alcoholic drinks and spirits. East African Breweries Limited (EABL), the producer of Tusker has blamed it on millennials.
The brewer says the brand has not been popular with the millennial. For the last three years, sales of EABL's flagship beer have been on a decline, forcing the brewer back to the drawing board.
They have tried flashy branding, labelling and packaging in a bid to woo millennials.
Nakumatt: Not long ago, Nakumatt's fiercest competitors were Tuskys and Uchumi. It was easier to take them on. With its spacious and elegant stores, Nakumatt offered a kind of shopping experience that put it a shoulder above competition, especially among the high-end shoppers.
This worked well for retail chain until Kenyans who used to shop from kiosks in their neighborhoods graduated to take a glance at other supermarkets and global retail chains such as France's Carrefour and South Africa's Game.
Experts opine that Kenyans without the taste for shopping as Nakumatt's typical customers chose such bigger 'kiosks' Naivas, Tuskys, Tumaini, Ukwala (bought by Botswana's Choppies) and a myriad of others. Meanwhile Nakumatt's niche of sophisticated shoppers is being eaten into by the new international entrants, a situation that saw Kenya's biggest retailer close branch after branch as some of its shelves run on empty.
Samsung: Samsung was, and remains, the smartphone to beat among Kenyans. But with the ferocious entry of such similarly affordable brands as Huawei, Infinix, and Tecno the South Korean company is not sitting pretty. Perhaps Samsung won't go the Nokia way, but it will be difficult for it to hold on to the top spot.
Already, Huawei has overtaken Samsung to become world's most profitable Android maker and second most profitable phone company in the world. That duel is playing out locally as well.
Hilton Hotels: The hotel was once the jewel of Nairobi City. But not anymore.There are new kids on the block.
Villa Rosa Kempinski, Southern Sun Mayfair, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Radisson Blu Hotel Dusitd2, Tribe have added to the likes Serena and Intercontinental Hotel to muddy the position of Hilton.
Elliot's: Elliot's was Kenya's indigenous bread. First manufactured in Kenya in 1903, Elliot's helped write Kenya's history as it was supplied to the army camps during the world wars and to the workers during the construction of the Kenya Uganda Railway.
Elliot's should be forever etched in our hearts, but competition is not sentimental. New players including Kenblest, Festive, and Superloaf have torn into Elliot's market leaving it fighting for a mother slice.
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MONEY & MARKET