EAC Industry Wellness

East African Consumer Confidence Holds Steady – study

Kenyan Consumer Confidence for the second quarter of 2019 was stable at 101 the same level as the previous quarter reflecting steady sentiment amongst Kenyan consumers.

Nielsen East Africa MD Faith Wanderi says: “Consumer sentiment continues to be positive in Kenya post the recovery in quarter 1. Going forward the economic outlook looks positive as the country’s GDP is stable with an expected growth in 2019 of 5.8%, way ahead of the Sub-Sahara Africa average of 2.8%.”

Evidence of the stability of Kenyan sentiment is that immediate spending intentions remained the same as the previous quarter, with 26% of Kenyans saying now is a good or excellent time to purchase what they need or want.

However, Kenyans’ personal finance outlook for the next year i.e. whether they categorise them as excellent or good, has seen a two point drop from 59% to 57%. That said their view around job prospects has improved by a solid four points over the previous quarter, with 45% of consumers viewing their job prospects as excellent or good.


Spending priorities

In terms of disposable income, 32% of Kenyans say they have spare cash, down one point from the previous quarter. When it comes to their spending priorities once they meet their essential living expenses, the highest percentage (82%) say they spend it on home improvements and savings, down 3% and 1% percent respectively, while 76% say they will invest in shares and mutual funds, down 5% from the previous quarter.

Looking at the top concerns of Kenyans over the next six months, increasing food prices emerged as the number one concern with 31% Kenyans worried about it, a 6 point increase from the previous quarter. This is followed by concerns around work life balance (21%; 3 point drop from Q1’19) and children’s education and welfare (20%; 1 point increase from Q1’19). With 19% (a 3 point drop from Q1’19) concerns around the economy has moved down to the fourth spot from being cited as one of the top three concerns in the previous quarter, showing the increasing confidence of Kenyans in the economy.

‘Squeezed’ wallets have also seen Kenyans tighten their financial belts with 60% saying they have changed their spending to save on household expenses compared to this time last year, albeit down from the 63% recorded in the previous quarter.

The top action they have taken to achieve savings in the last year includes delaying the replacement of major household items (61%), followed by 59% who have looked for better deals on loans/insurance/credit cards and 49% who have cut back on out-of-home entertainment.

Elaborating on these results, Wanderi says; “Despite Kenya’s current stable outlook, Nielsen’s latest Africa Prospects Indicator reportreveals weaker business and retail prospects in the next year and economists also warn that the country’s robust growth could be hurt by poorly-distributed, below-average rainfall. It will therefore be interesting to see how these factors impact consumer spending and confidence during the rest of 2019.”