With more than one billion two hundred thousand inhabitants, Africa is the second most populous continent in the World. It is also the youngest with more than two hundred million people being between fifteen and twenty-five years old. These 2 000 000 people are called the millennials, or generation Y, (born between 1980 and 2003). This age group uses internet the most allowing the continent to quickly take digital progress to reach today the internet 3.0.
- A connected generation
The increasing use of mobile phones and easy access to it, are two of the reasons that have led to quick Internet penetration across the continent.
More than 50% of people living in urban areas have internet access and 56% of them have mobile connected to the internet. Cities like Johannesburg, Lagos, Nairobi and Abidjan have high concentrations of inhabitants and young people living in these areas are in sync with digital progress.
Young people in sub-Saharan Africa use mobile phones for other purposes such as connecting to social networks, sending and reading emails, music, videos, banking, research news and information; 67% of young people in Africa are likely to search for information online (McKinsey, 2012). In countries such as Ghana, Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda, mobile phones are used to access social network platforms in the first place (Stork & al., 2013).
- Use smartphones for commercial purposes
The strong use of smartphones is a great opportunity for companies to broadcast advertising messages as well as for digital commerce (Barnes & Scornavacca, 2004). As a result, some companies have a progressive tendency to fully use digital tools to promote their products.
Internet sales are growing and large European online sales companies are already on the African continent to gain market share in this sector. Websites and blogs are also used by locally established brands to reach consumers. Unfortunately, companies are struggling to address African markets due to the lack of data and market research available (RFI, 2015).
The Millennials are in line with the use of smartphones for commercial purpose, a majority of them use theirs to buy products online. However, some are very reluctant to online shopping because they do not trust the Cybersecurity measures put in place by their governments. In South Africa for instance, youths are afraid of the theft of their financial data and this is the first reason why they do not trust online shopping.
Another interesting fact is that they prefer to buy online from foreign websites than their own countries’ websites because they believe they are certain to receive the goods they have purchased in this way.
- The Millenial, motor for the emergence of a middle class
Pushed by the purchasing power of Afriacan millenials, the middle class is also rising sharply in Sub-Saharan Africa. Indeed, Africans between 16-34 years old hold 53% of the national income. Multinationals, becoming more and more aware of these changes, are willing to settle more in this region to connect with this new and promissing audience.
- Confident in th future of their economy
A study was recently done by the Deloitte consultancy office regarding Millennials, their
aspirations, their confidence in the economy and their desires. The economic component is tackled by focusing on the Millennials’ confidence in the economy, given the recent events that have led to a decline in economies on their own, such as the Brexit vote, Donald Trump’s access to the presidency of the United States, the migration crisis from the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa. This study shows that emerging economies are seeing their Millennials significantly more confident in their economy in 2017 than in 2016 than those in developed economies have less confidence in their economy in 2017 than in 2016.
Below is a chart explaining the Millennials’ confidence levels by country.
Economic confidence: level of optimism
Source : The 2017 Deloitte Millenial Survey
We observe that 48% of Millennials in emerging countries expect improvements while only 25% of Millennials in developed countries are expecting the same. Therefore, Millennials in emerging countries have more confidence in the future of their economies than Millennials in developed countries. But are their economies up to date when it comes to funds to develop technology so that Generation Y can continue to trust them?
5. Room left for improvement
Despites the readiness of the African Millenials, the lack of infrastructures for the emergence of a tech-friendly environment is seen as a treath to the development of internet 3.0.
This observation leads to another important debate, the lack of skills and technical expertise within the Continent. The development of these infrastructures would enable young people in sub-Saharan Africa to have faster and easier access to internet, trainings and employment, issues that are becoming more and more crucial regarding the actual global context.
Crystal Sven Kabongo