Consumers in DRC are rethinking their shopping habits due to the impact of rising prices

Updated: Aug 24

Understanding the pain points of consumers in various demographics enables brands to make informed decisions and become innovative.



The COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia conflict is impacting consumers globally, DRC is not immune, and consumers are struggling with rising prices and shortages in goods. DRC is a massive market for brands, with a population of 99 million, but the current economic and market conditions pose a challenge for brands in the country. Data from Kasi Insight study - Cost of Living in DRC, reveals that 68% of consumers of concerned with rising prices. The poll conducted in June of 2022 amongst 489 respondents seeks to understand how rising prices are impacting consumers, their shopping habits and what brands can do to stay relevant the current environment.


Consumers in DRC hit the hardest by price increases on food and beverages items


Food and Beverage is the category where price increase has been felt the most, in fact, 65% of respondents state that the prices for items in this category have significantly increased. The other category where consumers have seen a significant price increase is in communication service (airtime, mobile data and internet costs), 42% of the respondents say they’ve seen prices go up a lot.


Interestingly, price increases for food and beverages are felt the most by consumers making more than $900 USD and less so by consumers making less than $900 USD. 91% of households making more than $900 USD per month are seeing food and beverage prices going up at lot. On the other hand, only 9% of households making less than $900 USD per month are seeing food and beverage prices getting out of hand. For other categories such as utilities, alcoholic beverages, clothing, etc. respondents across all income levels had noticed a general increase in prices, but not to the same extent of the prices of food and beverages and communication services.


Inflation is hindering consumers’ ability to spend on discretionary and housing the most


Inflation is mostly hindering consumers’ ability to spend on discretionary items and 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.


When it comes to affordable housing, the older they are the hardest the impact, 54% of baby boomers and almost 60% of Gen X are finding harder to find a place due to the inflation, while only 34% Gen Z and 43% of Millennials are negatively impacted.

When it comes to discretionary spending, it’s a different story. Inflation is hindering Gen X and Millennials' ability to spend on discretionary while Baby Boomers and Gen Z are less impacted. 4 in 10 Baby Boomers and Gen Z find it harder to spend on discretionary while 6 in 10 Gen X and Millennials.


Congolese have had to adjust their shopping habits to cope with the rising prices


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 have demonstrated a use of community services (e.g., community centre feeding programs, school programmes, etc.) more than females. Overall, 43% of respondents, were using these services.

Innovation in packaging, pricing, sales and promotions and a little bit community engagement can go a long way for brands in DRC

  • Consumers are purchasing cheaper alternatives or changing their purchasing habits to alleviate the pressure of rising prices on food and beverages. Brands should be innovative in their approach with regards to their packaging and pricing.

  • For discretionary brands, sales and promotions can encourage consumers to spend more in travel, cars, etc. Especially with the boarders opening across the world, post pandemic, this is a great time for businesses to push more travel deals

  • Brands should venture into community outreaches to help support consumers and bring more awareness of their brand. With 42% of the respondents using these services, this strategy is undoubtedly going to help with brand engagement and reputation amongst consumers.

Brands and businesses have an opportunity to curb the impacts of the rising prices for consumers through innovative and creative means. Through understanding the pain points felt by the various demographics (income, age-group, gender), brands can see where these individuals are hit the hardest and what they are doing to try and curb the impact of the rising prices. Such data can help brands make informed decisions.


Our data intelligence platform has comprehensive data on Congo and can provide valuable insights to help your business make fast data-driven decisions.


Contact us to see how we can help your business today!


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