The growing importance of Africa in the retail sector

In an increasingly globalised world, we need to pay attention to what customers ask us, and to forecast trends so we can provide effective, locally adapted solutions all over the world.

Our presence in Africa over the last 20 years, has been an ongoing learning process regarding the changes which have taken place in consumer demand in this continent. This has helped us to be prepared to face the new challenges to be faced in the coming decades.

The food sector is currently well consolidated in most countries in the continent of Africa, but we are seeing a considerable increase in the opening of hypermarkets. This type of retail service, offers a wider selection of products to consumers increasingly seeking a wider choice in the same place, and this now goes beyond food products.

This is why it is important to take into account all areas of retail activity so as to be able to satisfy the demands for each customer profile. The food sector is still the most important for two leading players: Carrefour and Auchan; but there is an ever-increasing quota for the fashion (Michael Kors, Armani) and health & beauty sectors, with a forecast for greater demand which will lead to them playing a key role in the medium term.

There is also an increasing presence in the telecom & electronics sector with major companies like Vodacom, in the DIY sector with retailers like Leroy Merlin and Bricomarché and in travel retail with operators like Dufry. In short, the main areas in retail activity are showing good rates of growth throughout the continent of Africa, with special mention for the numerous projects in fashion and health & beauty, which were already present in Africa but there are new orders gradually emerging in the rest of the countries.

The African consumer is looking to have access to the same types of establishment that are to be found in Europe and the USA. They feel that it is essential for sales premises to adapt to their culture for products and new services to become available, but in a way which is compatible with their traditions. Interest for new technologies applied to the retail sector is a reality and brands and retailers operating in the continent of Africa are increasingly asking about existing possibilities in the search for innovation and differentiation vis-a-vis their competitors.

To satisfy their demands, here at HMY we have been working in Africa for almost 20 years and we have the capacity to provide coverage in the continent’s 54 countries as a result of our efforts to develop in all areas, looking to promote growth in the retail sector and to contribute to growth and innovation in a continent like Africa which is so important and with so many possibilities.

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