In Africa, firms can’t control many of the factors that dictate whether, say, revenue rises or not. While some trends linger on for a while, some others disappear almost as soon as they come, and of course, leaves gainers and losers in its wake. Here are five business trends we expect to dominate Africa’s business ecosystem in 2019 and beyond.
1. Consumers will demand more control over their data.
Firms should avoid purchasing data or acquiring it without consumers’ consent. Not only is regulatory pressure increasing on companies that do so, but Deloitte’s report also reveals that 71 percent of purchased data is inaccurate.
Where should consumer data come from, then? Why not consumers themselves? Data firm Jebbit recommends leveraging the seasons with a holiday gift guide, themed poll, or holiday travel quiz. Interactive content is all the rage among consumers, as is the one-to-one personalization that’s made possible by data tied to specific customers.
2. Alternative lending will continue to grow.
Non-bank lending has been growing for years, but 2018 turned out to be a boom year for the industry. Given that around 80 percent of small business loan applications are rejected, startup founders are increasingly looking to nontraditional financiers for capital.
But alternative lenders don’t just have triple the acceptance rate of their institutional peers; to compete, they also simplify the entire lending process. Among these include Branch, Carbon (formerly Paylater), CowryWise, Kwikcash, etc.
3. Everything that can be personalized will be personalized.
A supermajority of consumers prefer to work with brands that offer personalized experiences. Personalization can take many forms, but some surveys found that the most popular varieties are coupons based on the customer’s locations, communications on the customer’s preferred channel, and recommendations based on past purchases or service history.
Another type of personalization that’s sure to pay off is a “channel of choice” communication strategy. Consumers are turning away from live conversations in favor of services that don’t require talking, such as SMS and social media.
4. Subscription services will continue to skyrocket.
Although subscription growth has slowed from earlier years, the industry is still growing by an impressive one percent per month. Food, beauty, apparel, and lifestyle subscription boxes remain the most popular, in that order.
5. Socially irresponsible firms will struggle.
Corporate social responsibility has been gaining steam for years, but 2018 saw a star-studded vindication of the movement.
In 2019 and into the future, expect social responsibility to be the table turners. Trends such as employee volunteerism, selection of socially responsible suppliers, grants for environmental initiatives, and more, will help many firms win hearts and sales ultimately.