In 2015, there were 226 million youth (people aged between 15 and 24) in Africa, making up 19% of youth globally. By 2030, 42% of young people worldwide will be from Africa [UN Department of Social and Economic Affairs]. This means that Africa will have about 500 million young people by 2030, not accounting for normal global population growth. Currently, 60% of Africa’s population is under 25, making it the youngest continent in the world in relation to its population [Quartz].
To ensure marketing campaigns targeting under 30 year olds are impactful, it is crucial to understand who the youth really are, what their thoughts are, and perhaps most importantly, what factors contribute to their buying decisions.
With our focus on informing, engaging, and impacting the lives of young people both through our media and the marketing campaigns we execute for our clients, we are at the front seat when it comes to understanding and creating impactful content for young people. Here are some key insights we have gathered about their interests and behaviour.
While internet penetration across the continent is rapidly growing, the internet and specifically social media have become the main source of information and content consumption for young people who access it. A street survey across Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya with over 2,000 respondents of under 30 year olds, showed that social media is the main touchpoint for news and content consumption for a majority of them. This also fits with the social media consumption patterns reported by We Are Social & Hootsuite’s yearly State of Digital report with social media users from Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya spending over 3h daily on social media on average, compared to a global average of 2h25.
Our findings also show that they want content that is quick to consume and gets straight to the point. Many users drop off watching or reading content as soon as they are less engaged. In terms of format, video is by far the preferred medium for young users.
Here is what some young Lagosians had to say about social media:
When it comes to saving and spending behaviour of young people, a notable trait is that they are aspiring to secure financial safety in an overall difficult economic context. Many young people dare to dream big and set ambitious financial goals for themselves.
This means that while being cost-conscious, there is a rapidly growing market for products (and campaigns) that appeal to the aspirations and goals of the youth. Excluding South Africa, a growing middle class in Sub-Saharan Africa is spending over $400 million per day [Google]
But young people are also saving for the future. A survey run by our team in Ghana revealed that 80% of under 30 year olds have a saving goal they are working towards.
We asked Lagosians about their saving goals, here is what they had to say:
To capture this growing market, brands that have powerful storytelling and are capable of building communities around their products are in a strong position. Users having grown up with the rise of digital expect to be able to interact and associate with their favourite brands online.
When creating content strategies and campaigns, we craft them around three key storytelling principles that are crucial to engage young users:
Here are some marketing campaigns that stood out to the young people we asked in Lagos:
Young users are increasingly open to purchasing products online. These purchases are however for the most part limited to small ticket items, as trust is relatively low and users are not willing to risk large amounts on products they cannot test or see in person before buying.
An area we are seeing strong growth in is social media shopping. The number of products being sold on platforms such as Instagram and the number of sellers on these platforms is rapidly increasing. We have identified the following three reasons for this emergence:
Here is what our respondents in Lagos had to say about buying products on Instagram:
To conclude, we believe that the consumption preferences and interests young people display across Africa are not only an indicator of what is to come but are also key insights to already take into account when planning campaigns that should speak to a large audience. With our channels, we have a direct touchpoint with millions of young people every day across Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and Sénégal. We use this to draw insights and recommendations that inform the marketing campaigns we run for our partners. If you are looking for a partner to support your next marketing campaign, reach out to us here.