4 Must-Read Typical Kenyan Buying Habits – Are You Selling To The Wrong Market?

target market in Kenya

If I were to ask you this question “Who is your target market?” What would you answer? Well, if you are like most of us, small business owners, chances are that you’ll confidently answer “Everyone”. Or maybe you’ll be a little more specific and answer “I target everyone from students, their parents, construction workers etc.” Well, the second answer sounds much better, but to a person who understand the hassle of being in business, it isn’t satisfactory.

The truth is that in order for your business to succeed, you need to be ultra-specific about who your customer is, where to find him and what they like to buy. A typical Kenyan market environment can be broken down into a gazillion target markets. But for purposes of simplicity and ease of understanding (and given that we are talking about a small business environment), let us discuss 4 categories that you can choose to target.

1.Low Class Market (A.K.A Low Income Market)

Who are they: They are the people who earn less than Ksh200 a day. They don’t have much spending power and they generally live in slum areas or remote rural areas. Most of the problems are quite basic i.e. food, shelter and clothing.

How to target them: They mostly listen to radio and don’t know much about social media. They can also be reached through door-to-door marketing.

What they like to buy: Clean water supply, cheap clothing, cheaper sources of lighting, cheaper food options, sanitary products etc.

Example of Business Idea

You can start a business of supplying small solar-powered lanterns or water purifiers. These however need to be lowly priced and of high quality. Because of the low spending power of this target market, you need to target a huge market to break-even.

2.Students & Unemployed Youth Market

Who are they: They are young, vibrant and aggressive. They don’t have much financial power as they mainly rely on student’s loans and handouts from parents to survive. You can find them on social media and they are normally described as the generation of tomorrow.

How to target them: You can target them through social media. They also listen to radio and read blogs, so you can target them through that channel as well. Door to door market can also work but only if you can find them in communal settings such as hostels or social gatherings.

What they like to buy: Phones, data bundles, fancy wear, watches, beverages, snacks, fast foods, beauty products and cheap electronics.

Example of business idea

You can start a beauty and cosmetic shop that offers affordable services to them. Photocopy business, combined with a barber shop and/or a gaming facility would also be a sure bet in targeting this market. You however need to be careful about pricing and quality – this is the type of audience that does a lot of comparisons before spending.

3.Gender-Specific Market

Who are they: We have two main genders in the world; the male gender and the female gender. Given that these two groups have different preferences, you can choose to focus on a particular gender particularly if you want to penetrate into an extremely competitive market.

What they like buying: Female gender makes most household decisions. Therefore if you are selling things like washing products, cooking oil, foodstuff and beauty products you now know who to target. On the other hand, if you are selling things like land, construction items, cars, shaving creams and electronics then the male gender is likely to be an easy lot to focus on.

You can also choose to be ultra-gender specific. For instance, you can focus on male kids aged less than 15 years or retiree mothers and so forth.

Example of a business idea

You can start an online store that exclusively deals with male products. Things like shaving creams, wellness supplements, gym wear and electronics. No one else seems to have thought about it in Kenya so far.

4.Middle Class Market (Kenya’s Fastest Growing Market Segment)

Who are they: In Kenya the middle class market comprises of people who spend between Ksh24,000 and Ksh200,000 of the month. As you can see, this is a pretty huge market, with immense decision making power and one worth targeting.

How to target them: The middle class are very specific about quality. They also value good branding as they often like to be associated with popular or growing brands. Most of them spend at least 3 hours a day behind a computer meaning that you can reach them via online promotional methods such as Google and Facebook advertising. They mostly listen to radio as they drive to and from work (or in public transport) meaning that you can also reach them via radio advertising. Door-to-door marketing is less effective with the middle class unless you operate on a referral basis i.e. “you tell a friend to tell a friend” system.

What they like to buy: The middle class like to buy fancy and luxurious items. They also like fast-food, electronics and average-priced cars. Things like mobile phones, electronic accessories, furniture, fast foods, affordable coffee, alcoholic drinks, domestic holidays (including wedding packages) and so forth also feature atop their list of top picks.

Example of a business idea

You can start the business of importing fancy electronics and jewelry. You can also set up a wedding planner consultancy or a limo hire business for this market.

Final Word

We honestly think that we’ve made it as easy as possible to identify your ideal target market. We hope that by knowing who would be interested in your business, you will have an easier time marketing – and probably you’ll even reduce your marketing cost. All the best in everything you do.

Add your thoughts about this story