Rwanda flag Rwanda: Buying and Selling

Advertising and marketing in Rwanda

Marketing opportunities

Consumer Profile
Rwanda has a population of around 12 million people, with a GDP per capita (PPP) estimated at USD 2,081 by the IMF (2017). Though the living standard is generally higher compared to regional levels, the country is classified as low-income by the World Bank. The Rwandan consumers are relatively young: according to data by the CIA, the proportion of children below the age of 14 is 41.4%, 19.3% of the population is between 15 and 24, 32.8% between 25 and 54, while only 6.5% are 55 or older.
Rwanda is one of Africa's most densely populated countries; with large concentrations in the central regions and along the shore of Lake Kivu. In recent years the country is witnessing a process of urbanization, with people migrating from rural areas to bigger cities (with the vast majority directing to the capital Kigali) driven by better employment possibilities and higher salaries. According to a 2017 report by Oxfam, Rwanda has the highest inequality rate in East Africa (with the richest 10% of the population earning 3.2 times more than the poorest 40%). While the part of the population with lower incomes purchases mainly foodstuff and other essential goods, consumers of the middle class make more sophisticated purchases, including foreign imported products.
Consumer Behaviour
Due to low levels of income, price is the main purchase driver for Rwandese consumers. However, the country’s young population is extremely optimistic in their outlook to the future, thus motivated to work more in order to increase their purchasing power and be able to afford also more sophisticated goods (including imported ones). In fact, in recent years the impact of social media has been strong also on the consumers’ behaviour, with Rwandese people being more exposed to Western-style models of consumption (i.e. streetwear, technology, food products), especially the younger generations that are often willing to pay extra for better facilities or products if “prestige” may come with it. Though the country’s middle class is expected to grow in the next future, only a minority of the population can afford to allocate a part of their expenses to non-essential goods. Among the other factors that determine the Rwandese consumer behaviour are availability and proximity, particularly for the food sector (with small local shops still leading the market despite the presence of numerous supermarkets in bigger cities). Packaging can be another important tool to increase sales as it can easily catch the attention of local consumers. Lastly, according to a research by Nielsen, 53% of Rwandese consumers said corporate social responsibility policies influence their purchase decisions.
Consumers Associations
Rwanda Consumer's Rights Protection Organization (ADECOR)
Main Advertising Agencies
Skyline Digital
Tafari Designs

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Latest Update: November 2022

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