KENYA – Kenya is the second most formalised retail economy in Africa after South Africa, a survey carried out by the New York Stock Exchange-listed research company, Nielsen has revealed.

Ventures Africa quoted the consumer report focusing on five sub-Saharan Africa economies to have indicated that 30 per cent of Kenyans shop in proper retail outlets compared to 60 per cent in South Africa.

The commercial powerhouse of East Africa was ranked ahead of Ghana which has only four per cent of its population patronising retail shops. It was also ahead of Cameroon and Nigeria, both of which had two per cent of shoppers visiting supermarkets.

“Even in Kenya, regarded as one of Africa’s most developed retail markets, traditional trade still accounts for 70 per cent of sales,” noted the Nielsen report. The 41 per cent who visit formal retail outlets do so to explore the wide variety offered by these outlets.

The most widely spread shops in Kenya are table tops, kiosks, market stalls, cosmetic outlets, telecom kiosks, drugs (pharmacists) and catering and leisure shops. 20 percent of traditional stores in Kenya are convenience outlets while 33 percent are groceries. In Cameroon, however, convenience outlets account for 48 percent of the informal trade shops.

Although the level of patronage is impressive, these supermarkets offer competitive prices and are not necessarily located within close distances from most buyers. Nielsen noted that traditional markets are still very relevant in the modern day African society.

“It is true that large African and international retailers such as Shoprite, Woolworths, and Carrefour are making investments in modern trade formats. But traditional outlets will continue to be a significant channel for reaching consumers for some considerable time to come,” read the report.

March 11, 2015;