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By: Iryna Sychyk

    An extensive overview of 24 first- and second-tier cities in Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa in a recently published white paper reveals particularly dynamic growth shifting from the region’s mature consumer markets in South African metropolises to the urban areas in other Sub-Saharan countries.

    Indeed, out of the top 10 fastest growing cities in the region for consumer spending in 2015-2030, only two come from South Africa. Soaring population growth and improving purchasing power will strengthen the consumer market potential in the cities across the region.

    Top 10 fastest growing Sub-Saharan cities for consumer spending in 2015-2030

    Top 10 fastest growing Sub-Saharan cities for consumer spending in 2015-2030

    Source: Euromonitor International

    Note: The size of the bubble represents total consumer expenditure in a city in 2030 (in US$ bn).

    Population Expansion and Income Growth Drive Consumer Spending in Sub-Saharan Cities

    South Africa’s cities, i.e. Johannesburg and Pretoria, will remain the region’s heavyweights in consumer expenditure in 2030. South Africa has been a long-term favourite entry point into the region for many multinational companies, and so the country’s flagship cities have over time developed consumer markets of a relatively extensive depth and breadth. However, the market saturation of Johannesburg and Pretoria is evident and greatly contrasts with the dynamism of Nairobi, Abuja, Yaoundé and Douala. Second-tier cities in countries such as Kenya are picking up an especially impressive growth momentum.

    Population surge is a predominant driver of the consumer spending boom in the top 10 cities under review. In fact, Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to see the highest increase in the urban population among the developing regions globally from 2015 to 2030 (+74% or 268 million). Another important boost to the Sub-Saharan cities’ consumer markets is that the region’s urban households are growing richer. Indeed, in Kenya’s leading cities of Nairobi and Mombasa, improving purchasing power of households is forecast to be a prevailing factor behind soaring consumer spending in them.

    Population Expansion and Income Growth Stand Behind a Consumer Boom in Sub-Saharan Cities

    Population-Expansion-and-Income-Growth-Stand-Behind-a-Consumer-Boom-in-Sub-Saharan-Cities

    Source: Euromonitor International

    Where Will a Rising Consumer Class in Sub-Saharan Cities Channel Its Spending?  

    Reflecting the population surge, consumer expenditure in the top 10 Sub-Saharan cities under review (with the exception of Johannesburg and Pretoria) will still be largely allocated to basic necessities such as food and non-alcoholic drinks. In fact, as of 2030, the share in total city consumer spending captured by food will range from a third in Nairobi to more than half in Nigerian cities: Abuja, Ibadan and Port Harcourt. However, in line with growing household incomes, the proportion that food occupies in consumer expenditure will decrease in the top 10 Sub-Saharan cities under review by 2030, leaving more room for spending on discretionary items. Consumer categories such as transport, household goods and services, health goods and medical services, as well as hotels and catering will be particularly thriving in the top 10 Sub-Saharan cities under review by 2030.

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