Rather than focusing only on Africa’s middle class when considering the potential of the continent, marketers may be well advised to look at the grouping known as the consuming class – those who spend more than US$10 per day.In an article written for the latest issue of the ‘IMM Journal of Strategic Marketing’, senior Nielsen Research executive Ailsa Wingfield says that, worldwide, the consuming class represents a massive emerging market opportunity and by 2025 this segment will swell to 4,2-billion people (53% of the world’s population) and account for 50% of all global consumption spend.“Today, Africa’s consuming class is just 120-million people, or less than 10% of the continent’s population (versus 35% globally), and accounts for 31% of income and close to 40% of spend,” Wingfield writes. “However, in the near-term this figure of fewer than 10% could double as incomes in the lower middle class (US$4-10 per day) stabilise. In the longer term the consuming class could expand to 40% to include the current mass middle class, which has a fluctuating spending ability of between US$2-4 per day.”
She continues: “Further down the line, there are another 720-million people who live a subsistence life now (below US$2 per day), but who will be moving up the income – and consumer spending – ladder to become middle class and, ultimately perhaps, consuming class.
“It’s therefore clear that these growing markets represent massive potential for spending to increase exponentially and rapidly [in Africa] as political, economic and social advancement continues, and consumers’ circumstances improve.”