Unilever: African consumers underestimated
09 July 2012
Unilever is planning an increased focus into Africa according to its executive vice-president in Africa Frank Braeken.
Braeken has told CNN that consumers in Africa have been “underestimated, underserved and underserviced” by multinational corporations. He also suggests that the diversity of the continent is often overlooked and that Unilever intends to localise its marketing for the different regions.
The consumer goods giant currently considers itself to be in “learning mode” in the market and sells brands including Ben & Jerry’s, Knorr and Lipton across 15 territories.
The main challenges facing Unilever in the region according to Braeken are infrastructure, governance, corruption and competition for talent.
Household spending in Africa is predicted to increase to $1.4 trillion by 2020 according to a report from McKinsey & Company.
In recent years, Unilever has brought the number of stores selling its products in the market up to approximately 400,000 and has pushed this forward with the launch of several low-cost lines.
Asia, Africa and the Middle East and Eastern Europe contributed the majority of the company’s first quarterly revenues of the year, generating $6.3bn in revenue, showing an 11.2% year-on-year growth.
David Hing, London