The ABCs of Gen Z: Kantar’s definitive guide to winning with Africa’s next consumer

The hype around Gen Z is here to stay.
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Ndeye Diagne

Managing Director, Insights Division, Nigeria & Ghana

This Africa Day, find out how the new ‘Great Generation’ is shaping a new continent, creating meaning and change in African Horizons and writing both a new narrative and reality for future generations. 

They are imaginative, expressive, and disruptive, so questions of ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘how’ and of course ‘why’ all come to mind when we think of this intriguing generation. With Africa recording the largest concentration of young people in the world, Gen Zers from Africa rise as a colossal cohort, an exciting bunch of people, as well as a massive growth opportunity for businesses, brands and Africa as a continent. Understanding Gen Z is simply mission-critical for brand growth in Africa. In order to successfully tick this opportunity box, follow us through the 5 core missions that define your next-to-get consumers in Africa.

Feeling cheugy? If you’re wondering if that’s even a word, you need to read this. Everything hits different with Gen Z, including and above all else, language. But who exactly falls into this cohort? Definitions vary somewhat but the basic age bands stay the same. They are currently aged 10 to 25. So, we know they’re young and living their best life, but there’s more to Gen Z in Africa than that.
We’ve been studying Gen Z for a while now, and our latest report decodes, refines and reveals the true faces of this generation through a mix of in-depth interviews, analytics use case and survey data. Our exclusive Africa Life trends study serves as the starting point in our journey to understand African Gen Z. Here’s a preview of what we know about them from Mission #1: Connect.

Mission #1: Connect! 
The phrase ‘digital natives’ has been overused and is now highly clichéd, yet the internet remains the lifeline to their existence. It’s no surprise that Gen Z stands out as the most connected consumer group across sub-Saharan Africa. Information at their fingertips means there are no limitations on what they believe they can achieve.

Both tech optimists and tech opportunists, they believe in tech. Technology augments opportunities and positively affects everything in their lives, from general lifestyle to business to education to more. Tech provides.

Tech realists, they recognise life is tough out there. And while the internet can’t solve all their challenges, it does offer the tools to make life richer, more productive, and less stressful. It’s a tool for growth in Africa, for themselves and for the continent. A young Kenyan summed up the maxim perfectly: ‘If we don’t maximise what tech offers us, we have only ourselves to blame’.

Social beasts often glued to their mobiles, they struggle to see much sense in ‘life without social media’, even though it in many ways reveals some of their confessed vulnerability, with creativity anxieties about the quality of content they create and curate. 

Your brand action plan and checklist to attract Gen Z in Africa

gen z model
These next-to-win consumers expect to be more than users – see them as partners and influencers. Work with them, offering new opportunities to contribute as part of your brand’s stories. It’s co-creation on new terms as their values are permission-based, so go beyond core products and services to offer tools, platforms, ideas, and programmes that enable personal growth. 

Operating as a success enabler needs to be reflected authentically and consistently through brands’ actions, creative output and activations. Beyond empowerment and expression, they expect brands to express positions on issues that matter and to contribute visibly to building a fairer world. This is also about sustainability, continuously working to bring about positive change. 

Expression is obviously also about identity, so creativity with an African twist is pure gold. In an era where culture is the new marketing currency in Africa, brands have a boulevard of opportunities to play with, to touch their hearts and win this generation for good. 

Is your brand ready to make each moment count for Gen Z in Africa? Watch this:

Watch our webinar on demand to find out what really makes Gen Z in Africa tick beyond TikTok, as we take you on a whistle-stop tour from identity to tech, possibility, creativity, creation, influence and back again. 

Get in touch for the full Gen Z report with details on all 5 missions that power the continent’s youth: 

Mission #2: Be. Who they are, what they want to be.
Mission #3: Care. What they care about.
Mission #4: Play. The importance of fun and how they have fun.
Mission #5: Become. African, in newer terms.

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The full report is available for purchase as well as country-level insights from Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa, which include immersive workshops to unpack the full learnings and opportunities for your business and your brand to better connect with consumers in this growth market.
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