Township consumers in South Africa represent an important market for brands given that 50% of the country's urban population live in townships or informal settlements. This large and diverse informal economy has often proved to be more buoyant than the formal economy in some areas.
Ask Afrika’s annual Kasi Star Brands benchmarking survey provides marketers with a deeper insight into the nuances of South Africa’s township economies and the top performing township brands for 2022/2023. The benchmark is run off of the most comprehensive syndicated U&A survey in South Africa also known as Ask Afrika’s Target Group Index (TGI).
In first place this year is Lucky Star tinned fish, followed by Kiwi shoe polish (who came in first last year), Sunlight dishwashing liquid, Koo canned beans, Drink O-Pop, Capitec, Coca-Cola, Dettol liquid antiseptic, Colgate manual toothbrushes, and Colgate toothpaste in 10th position.
Kasi Star Brands are those brands that South African township consumers are most loyal to in terms of usage, irrespective of background or living standard. Kasi Star Brands are defined by ‘solus usage’ which means consumers are loyal only to that specific brand within its product category. Brands with successful township marketing strategies typically have a good Kasi score.
“Top performing Kasi Star Brands define a common experience and are woven into the fabric of South Africa’s townships,” says Maria Petousis, Ask Afrika’s executive who is part of the Ask Afrika Global team looking after Assets in Africa. “This year’s winners are brands that have generated critical township mass in their categories and have built a high level of loyalty amongst township consumers at the same time.”
This year the Kasi Star Brands benchmark measured a total of 55 product categories. The benchmark, explains Petousis, enables brand owners to understand their brand’s performance within its category on a product level and with the psychographic richness of the dataset that brings them closer to the township consumer behind the purchase. This depth of insight positions Ask Afrika’s TGI solution as the optimal usage and attitude solution in South Africa.
The insight from this year is that while there are some key themes that are common across townships, there is a need to customize your marketing strategy based on the nuanced differences that exist between townships. It is clear that a targeted approach that is focused on building emotional connections is key. Marketers need to have the right message to the right audience, on the right medium at the right time if they plan to succeed with this consumer sector.
Common themes that emerged were the need for trust and purpose, the need for a brand to do/stand for “good”, the importance of convenience and emotional connections matter. Another interesting theme, which could have contributed to this year’s winner's success, is the importance of local brands. It appears local is still “lekker” in Townships and is becoming more important.
Other common themes identified were financial attitudes and behaviours of Kasi consumers which are surprisingly similar across all income groups. A growing number of township consumers are focusing on their finances and have credit cards. More consumers believe it’s important to have a budget or financial plan, have insurance and save for retirement.
Interestingly, lower income consumers regard corporate social responsibility as twice as significant compared to other income segments and a critical area for improved perceptions on ethics, trust and reputation.
Looking at the differences that exist, both demographically and in terms of attitudes, not all township consumers are the same, reveals the study. For example, Alexandra residents are interested in financial services advertising and don’t like the idea of being in debt. Umlazi residents say they are more aware of their personal finances that they used to be and like to pay cash for everything they buy. Sowetan residents consider themselves good at managing money.
Factors influencing brand loyalty include value for money, affordability, quality, convenient availability, and relevance, say Kasi consumers. They’re encouraged to try other brands based on the price, availability, novelty, convenience and advertising. However, here again, all townships are not the same. While 11% of Sowetan consumers say they are extremely likely to switch to a non-traditional bank (56% more likely than the average township consumer), consumers in Alexandra are not as open to this shift. However, consumers in Alexandra are 35% more likely to have used money transfer services compared to other townships.
“What this year’s benchmark study reveals that is that different communities have developed unique personalities,” says Petousis. “The key take-out for marketers is that they need to walk in the shoes of the Kasi consumer to better understand them. To succeed with township consumers requires more granular messaging which sends the right message to a defined audience, on the right medium and at the right time if they plan to succeed with this consumer sector.” Ask Afrika’s Wayfinder solutions help businesses achieve this while providing bespoke solutions based on your business needs. Reach out to find out more.
To compare the township nuances within different townships and lifestyle segments within them, and to get granular detail and comprehensive competitor analysis within and across product categories, connect with Ask Afrika’s Maria Petousis (az.oc.akirfaksa@airaM) or Refilwe Sathekge (az.oc.akirfaksa@ewlifeR). Ask Afrika provides bespoke presentations as well as reports to brands interested in fine-tuning their township marketing strategies.