DRC shoppers are battling high prices and shortages of goods - study

By our News Team | 2022

Congolese consumers feel the inflation pinch and many are having to adjust their shopping and spending habits.

Consumers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are, in common with shoppers in many countries, struggling with rising prices and shortages of goods.

A recent study entitled Cost of Living in DRC, conducted by research company Kasi Insight, reveals that 68% of consumers in the country are concerned about rising prices. The poll sought to understand how rising prices are impacting consumers, their shopping habits and what brands can do to stay relevant in the current environment.

Consumer Issues

Street vendors in Kinshasa, DRC. Photo by Rahul Tilak via Wikimedia Commons

According to a blog post on the Kasi Insight website, the economic and market conditions pose a challenge for brands in the country of 99-million people.

Food and beverage is the category where price increase has been felt the most, with 65% of respondents stating that the prices for items in this category have significantly increased. 

The other category where consumers have seen substantial price increases is in communication services (airtime, mobile data and internet costs). Here, 42% of the respondents said they’ve seen prices go up markedly. 

Some price hikes only felt by certain consumers

“Interestingly, price increases for food and beverage are felt the most by consumers making more than US$900 and less so by consumers making less than $900,” says the post, adding that, 91% of households in DRC make more than $900 per month, while only 9% make less than that.

For other categories – such as utilities, alcoholic beverages, clothing, etc. – respondents across all income levels noticed a general increase in prices, but not to the same extent as the prices of food and beverage items, and communication services.

The study says inflation is mostly hindering consumers’ ability to spend on discretionary items and on housing.

“Our data shows that 55% of consumers are saying that inflation is negatively impacting their ability to spend on discretionary items, while 50% of consumers are finding housing unaffordable because of the inflation,” the researchers reported.

Kasi Insight says Congolese have had to adjust their shopping habits to cope with the rising prices, and 52% of the respondents are purchasing alternatives (brands/items), while 44% are changing purchasing habits more generally (purchasing/using fewer products and services) in response to the rising prices. 

Interestingly, male respondents are using community services (e.g., community centre feeding programmes, school programmes, etc.) more than females. Overall, 43% of respondents were using these services.

Read the full article here.