Monday, June 24, 2024

East African consumer confidence on the move

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Staff Writer
Staff Writer
Africa Feeds Staff writers are group of African journalists focused on reporting news about the continent and the rest of the world.

Kenyan Consumer Confidence for Quarter 3, 2019 has shown a marginal three point increase to 104 in the third quarter of 2019 following two previous quarters of stalled sentiment where it remained at 101.

Nielsen East Africa MD Faith Wanderi comments, “Kenyan consumer confidence is stable and positive, for now.

Perceptions have improved about personal finances and readiness to spend, probably as the pressures of the first half expenses were over. However, economic uncertainties, adverse weather conditions and a wide fiscal deficit continue to challenge the optimism of Kenyans.”

Despite their concerns, Kenyans are showing slightly more positivity around immediate spending intentions, which is up three points to 29% of Kenyans saying now is a good or excellent time to purchase what they need or want.

Kenyans’ personal finance outlook for the next year i.e. whether they categorise them as excellent or good, has also improved with a two point increase to 59%, the same level as quarter 1, 2019.

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That said, their view around job prospects has declined slightly by one point over the previous quarter, with only 44% of consumers viewing their job prospects as excellent or good.

Spending priorities

In terms of disposable income, 27% of Kenyans say they have spare cash, down five points from the previous quarter.

When it comes to their spending priorities once they meet their essential living expenses, the highest percentage (75%) say they will spend it on home improvements although this is down a substantial seven points from the previous quarter.

This is followed by 72% who would use their spare cash for savings (down by 10 points compared to Q2’19 results), while 62% say they will invest in shares and mutual funds, down by 14 points from the previous quarter.

Looking at the top concerns of Kenyans over the next six months, increasing food prices emerged as the number one concern with 27% Kenyans worried about it, though it has dropped 4 points compared to the previous quarter.

This is followed by concerns around work life balance at 22% (a one point increase from Q2’19) and higher utility bills coming in third at 18%, closely followed by the economy at 17%.

Squeezed wallets have also seen Kenyans tighten their financial belts with 61% saying they have changed their spending to save on household expenses compared to this time last year, slightly up from the 60% recorded in the previous quarter.

The top action Kenyans have taken to achieve savings in the last year include looking for better deals on loans/insurance/credit cards which comes in at top place (61%), ahead of former number one ‘delaying the replacement of major household items’ (59%).

In third place, 54% of Kenyans (up five points from the previous quarter) are cutting back on out of home entertainment, the sign of a more cautious consumer who is far more aware of their discretionary spending.

Elaborating on these results, Wanderi says; “Despite their optimism, spare cash is a challenge for Kenyans and their confidence in future job prospects has taken a hit. This might impact their spend, and manufacturers and retailers need to be mindful of the key concerns of consumers, even though overall sentiment is showing an upward trend.”

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