New study shows changing lifestyles and habits of Kenyan consumers

By our News Team | 2022

Report details how the pandemic has changed the daily habits of many people in the East African nation.

Ipsos Kenya recently released a new report detailing how the pandemic has led to changes in Kenyans’ lifestyles. 

The study, titled Pulse on Kenyans and Covid-19, shows Kenyans have become more aware of their budgeting and have been pushed to seek financial stability in case of future crises.

It reveals that 54% of Kenyans are planning to spend less post-pandemic, 15% the same, while 31% will spend more. It also shows a strong uptick on the purchase of hygienic and cleaning products, an increase in purchasing of essential foods and a decrease in non-essential food items such as confectionaries.

The need to budget and save money has also led to changes in the types of purchases, with many people buying in smaller quantities, seeking cheaper brands, and a shift towards local and homemade products.

Research was conducted by Ipsos Kenya Understanding Unlimited (UU) among online communities in February 2022.

Consumer Lifestyles

Woodvale Grove in Westlands, Nairobi. Photo credit: Nairobi123 via Wikimedia Commons

Stronger family bonds in wake of pandemic

Some Kenyans surveyed by Ipsos reported forming a stronger bond with their families after having to move back in and isolate with them. This was in the context of the tough times they faced together, which allowed Kenyans to take stock and appreciate their families. Some even adopted new habits – exercising together, playing family games etc. – to foster this bond and pass the time.

On finances and banking, the study shows the pandemic had a negative effect, with rampant loss of jobs and income – leading to an increase in side-hustles to make ends meet. 

Some Kenyans had to survive on their savings and therefore depleted them. This scenario also saw many downsizing in terms of lifestyle and spending in order to save money, while loan acquisitions to boost businesses increased.

“Although Kenyans’ interactions with banks remain minimal for the mass market, we observe a stronger focus on digital platforms. More digital payments and cashless transactions – virtual relationships have become more of a preference,” said Ipsos Kenya UU Lead, Ruth Ruigu.

On media consumption, the study shows many Kenyans were stuck at home with little to do, other than consuming media due to the lockdown directives.

Television is listed top of the media most consumed. Internet – especially social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok) and entertainment apps such as Netflix and YouTube – were also popular. Search engines such as Google recorded an upsurge in consumption among Kenyans.

“Covid-19 has made Kenyans more reliant on online communication channels for human interactions since social activities were discouraged. Some have spent more time consuming media to stay informed on Covid-19 and its impact on society,” reads part of the report.