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West Africa Consumer Confidence on the Rise, Keen Interest in Home Improvements

West Africa Consumer Confidence on the Rise, Keen Interest in Home Improvements

Nielsen’s consumer confidence figures for the third quarter of 2017 show a positive outlook for the year ahead in Ghana and Nigeria, reporting increased discretionary consumer spending and renewed interests in property renovations and home improvements.

According to Nielsen’s latest West Africa Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) figures, which climbed up by one point in each country (Ghana to 112 and Nigeria to 117),  there is an overall positive sentiment among Ghanaians and Nigerians for 2018, the latter more subdued.

“Consumer confidence in Ghana is highest since the inception of the survey in 2013. Recovery in the oil and gas sector, healthier agricultural production, and favourable monetary policies have all contributed towards re-establishing positive sentiment among Ghanaians,” commented Nielsen West Africa and Maghreb MD Abhik Gupta.

The positive outlook refers to employment prospects, personal finances, spare cash, savings and investments, which drive further interest in property acquisitions and improvements.

Almost 58% of Ghanaians indicated they have spare cash, substantially higher than Nigerians (45%) and Kenyans (34%). The figure shows an increase of 9% compared to the fourth quarter of the previous year, 2016.

Savings and investments were top long-term priorities for both Ghanaians and Nigerians reporting an improved financial situation.

In Ghana, the majority of 80% would add the surplus to savings, and 56% showed interest in shares and mutual funds. By comparison, 76% of Nigerians chose savings first, while 65% declared an interest in shares and mutual funds.

Property upgrades were second most important for Nigerians, with 69% seeing home improvements as a worthwhile investment, compared with 53% Ghanaians.

Although financially conservative in long-term spending habits, 43% Ghanaians and 39% Nigerians declared they were ready to spend where necessary on a short-term basis.

However, concerns about personal finances, limited spare cash, and ongoing price pressures were still prevalent in Nigeria, where only 60% of the population can afford the basics.

The drop in oil prices coupled with exchange rate volatility severely affected the Nigerian economy, leading to recessionary trends from mid-2016, and rapidly rising inflation. As exchange rates attained stability, the economy has gradually started to recover.

“With improving job and financial stability, and inflationary relief, we expect recoveries in sentiment and consumption,” concluded the Nielsen West Africa MD.

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