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‘Digitize or Die’: Study warns African retailers’ to key in or go extinct sooner

Firmus Advisory, a leading Market Research, Regulatory Compliance and Trade Development study group, has advised operators of retail industry in Africa and mainly Ghana to keep up with digital trends and understand the changing lifestyles and demands of their customers.

According to the report, inability of retailing entities to key into digital trends and innovations will render them redundant and eventual out of business especially in buying goods and service access.

The towering trend in digital inclusion stemmed the expanding middle class, cheaper prices of smartphones and tech-savvy young and old people.

Though the report acknowledged offline markets, especially for food and beverages, the report noted that retailers that have keyed into the digital payment platforms would be better placed to meet their needs.

The study group explained that over 2,500 respondents were surveyed on social media and on the ground in Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi to share their views on current trends in the retail space, the drivers and inhibitors of their shopping online or offline.

Retail outlets across the three cities were also engaged in in-depth interviews to understand the workings of the sector. It centered on spending habits on Food and Beverages, Health and Personal Care, and Fashion products.

Presenting the findings, Mr Albert Cofie, Manager Research, said Ghana’s retail sector had grown considerably in the past decade, thanks to an expanding middle class, the proliferation of smartphones and the tech-savvy young people who prefer to buy online account for the gradual shift to online purchases.

The report averred that other factors that have spurred the growth of the sector include a relatively young population, political stability and a favourable investment climate.

Giving further insights, Firmus Advisory Research Executive, Araba Koomson, , said the study found out that young entrepreneurs who had taken advantage of social media platforms to market their merchandise were making some good returns, and chipping away some of the revenue that would otherwise had gone to the more established retail outlets.

According to him, “In sum, digitization is changing the retail landscape from pre to post sale transactions, communication, distribution and customer feedback,” she said, adding that, consumers’ shopping habits and lifestyle are some of the major drivers that would shape retail trade going into the future.”