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Africa’s growing number of young consumers seeking trustworthy brands
By our News Team | 2023
Digital innovations by businesses on the continent will fail unless they are accompanied by high levels of customer trust, study finds.
While the desire to seek ‘Joy’ in difficult circumstances is a notable consumer attitude, both in Africa and elsewhere, so too is a rising demand for ‘Trust’. Trust of brands, corporates, civic institutions and the authorities.
For example, brands targeting African consumers must blend digital innovation with customer trust if they are to be successful, according to a study conducted by Mastercard in conjunction with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services. The latter is the independent commercial research unit within the famous Harvard Business Review magazine.
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The briefing paper, entitled ‘Balancing Digital Innovation and Customer Trust in the Middle East and Africa’, was published in April and explores the continent’s current business landscape through the lens of an increasingly young population.
Among other things, it highlights that trust as an important lever for customer loyalty, business sustainability and innovation.
Privacy is foundational for trust and innovation
Around 60% of Africa’s population is younger than 25, and their embrace of a digital world that is purpose-driven and built on connection bodes well for businesses in a region that prioritises innovation. However, with economic activity increasing online, security and privacy are emerging as foundational not just for trust, but also for innovation.
The briefing paper reveals that over 70% of businesses in Africa recognise that service reliability and availability are paramount.
But less than half (42%) realise the importance of data security and privacy to customers, especially as digital tools and experiences become more common. To safeguard the trust of consumers and earn a license to innovate in the future, businesses need to recognise that innovation requires flexibility and commitment.
According to the researchers, consumers in the region are also quicker than their global peers to punish businesses for adverse events by withdrawing their trust and their spending – which raises the stakes for companies.
In addition, consumers in Africa have underlined the importance of strong values, with 80% saying they prioritised buying from businesses that act on causes they care about, a far higher proportion than the global average of 63%. This includes the environment, supporting small businesses, women’s economic empowerment, disaster relief, and humanitarian aid.
Read more about the consumer attitude of ‘Trust’ in the latest Strategic Marketing for Africa – the voice of African marketing and the official publication of the African Marketing Confederation (AMC). Read it online here. A print edition of the magazine is also available.
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