Consumer lifestyles in South Africa are at a state of constant shift. Nuances in the psychographics of consumers cause a popularised wave of purchases. However, these radical influxes of buying certain products never last too long - there is always another product or service gearing up to thwart the competition.
Brands and indeed agencies are working together more strategically than ever before. Synergy between the two industries is essential to collaborate efficiently. Staying on top of trends and focusing on market conversations is first prize for research divisions; with easy access to social media, more companies are tapping into these invaluable consumer dialogues.
2015 has seen its fair share of product launches and changes in lifestyle trends. In the current South African climate, what products are consumers purchasing?
Consumer lifestyles in South Africa - Mobile
The communications industry is an interesting one to unpack. The South African consumer, parallel to many first-world consumers, is obsessed with the latest trends in smartphone technology. Although there lies a massive disparity dividing the rich and poorer markets, it would seem that everyone has access to a smartphone. Cheaper contracts, spanning over a longer period of time, is arguably the reason for this. It would seem that Samsung is winning at monopolising their reach and market retention.
Not only are brands like Samsung offering an affluent reflection of innovative technology to the South African masses, they are offering those without an ADSL line and homebound wifi quick and easy access to the internet. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have transgressed into mobile apps. This simplifies the consumer’s need to divulge themselves in the latest social activity, keep up to date with the latest news, and to connect with friends and family.
Watch the YouTube video below to see how the Samsung Galaxy range is engaging with consumers:
Consumer lifestyles in South Africa - Motor Vehicles
A growing population of South Africans are able to afford motor vehicles. A nuisance for 9-5ers, as a growing demand for this leisure lifestyle is causing a metropolitan nightmare in terms of traffic influx. Nonetheless, South Africans need to get to work somehow and public transport is plainly not up to scratch, nor timely and reliable - yet. In recent years, brands Ford, Volkswagen and Toyota are affording the majority of able South Africans a new set of wheels.
April 2015 saw the Ford Ranger rise to the top of the list with over 3000 units sold, and in total over 11,000 in the progression of the year. Ford, with its grassroots culture originating in Detroit during the early 1900’s, has come to be a favourite in the motor industry of South Africa.
The culture of Ford, which is captured in their tagline “Go Further” appeals to many South Africans who have a desire to walk on the wild side of life. Strategists and creatives working with the brand have positioned the car as an idol of masculinity and power. Campaigns and communication platforms have followed through with the mandate of this particular model, which could be a factor in their winning sales statistics.
Consumer lifestyles in South Africa - Fashion
Fashion goes hand in hand with lifestyle, and South Africans are, to put it lightly, fashion crazy. There is a trend filling up the urban spaces of the country’s CBDs, and everyone is putting their best foot forward to follow the Nike cult. Sharing the glory of footwear following is Converse, also one of South Africa’s leading lifestyle/fashion brands. Nike’s “Just Do It” attitude has spilled over into South African culture and is not only targeting our athletes anymore. Metropolitan urban culture is at an all time high and every urbanite in South Africa’s cities wants to feel like they are making a statement on every street corner that they might pass by.
Converse has an equal part to play in this department. All Stars have retained their popularity as the number 1 casual sneaker in South Africa, but there is a massive trend pertaining to the Chuck Taylor design. “Made by You” encompasses the mantra, and the do it yourself attitude that it brings forth is taking the nation by storm. We are a creative bunch, and the unique styles that come standard with this funky sub-brand from Converse would appeal to the artistic passion that many South Africans hold true to. For now, it would seem that other footwear brands have a big pair of shoes to fill if they want to be “on pair” with these icons.
Lifestyle products are playing more of integral role than ever before; aspirational values are climbing to the top of the ladder due to the increased avenues of social media and technology, and an increased segment of young, educated South Africans manipulating the way trends affect consumer behaviour. The focus will be on what brands are targeting the urban up-and-comers, as they a large majority of the influential reign.
Ford Asia Pacific