NAIROBI, Kenya, May 16 – Regional retailer Nakumatt Holdings has challenged multinationals operating in the East Africa region to consider stepping up their global marketing and product development partnerships and standards to meet local consumer demands.
Nakumatt Holdings Managing Director Atul Shah says that local consumers are only willing to settle for world class products and services that enhance their lifestyles largely fuelled by growing literacy levels, international exposure and a higher consumer spending power.
Speaking when he received the Samsung Electronics Africa Retail Partner of the Year Award 2011 during the just concluded Samsung Africa Forum here in Nairobi, Mr Shah disclosed that the regional electronics market category is now valued at more than US$200 million and still growing; effectively confirming its importance in the regional economies.
“Regional consumers have now matured to a sophisticated market class seeking and spending on internationally renowned quality brands,” he said. “Such a degree of consumer maturity now presents an opportunity for multinationals operating in the region to consider upgrading their products and services to meet local environmental and related conditions.”
Multinationals operating in this region, Mr Shah added, will also need to play an active partnership role with local retailers by helping raise local service delivery standards through regular skills transfer programs covering technical services, merchandising and customer service.
“International manufacturers such as Samsung Electronics now have no choice but to ensure that they maintain world-class standards here in East Africa for them to effectively penetrate the market,” Mr Shah said.
“I am proud to note that Samsung has already taken the cue and has unveiled a range of built for Africa products.”
As a continental beater, Nakumatt Holdings is basking in pride following its crowning as the best Samsung Electronics retailer in Africa based on a sales performance and product display evaluation amongst more than 25 other leading Africa based retailers.
Speaking during the awards presentation for the winning retailers drawn from across Africa, Samsung Electronics Africa President, Mr Kwang Kee Park, disclosed that as part of the firm’s continental growth strategy, Samsung will be focusing on Africa\’s top 10 economies, which together generate 79 percent of the continents wealth and house almost 47 per cent of the population.
While congratulating Nakumatt Holdings for its achievement, Mr Park explained that the firm will be stepping up efforts to jointly market its range of products in conjunction with leading regional retailers.
“Plans are underway to achieve market leadership in all categories, including mobile phones, washing machines and air conditioners, through Samsung\’s innovative product line-up,” Mr Park explained.
And added: “this we hope to achieve by enhancing in-country marketing including alliances with retailers such as Nakumatt Holdings while strengthening our distributor infrastructure, as well as tightening and improving supply chain management.”
Samsung Electronics, Park disclosed has undertaken extensive research and development (R&D) to develop technology innovations, specific to the African consumers’ needs. These include, TVs with built in power surge protectors, triple protector technology for air conditioners to ensure durability, power surge protection and safeguarding against high temperatures and humidity, deep foam washing machines that are 70 percent energy efficient – saving up to 30% water use, dura-cool refrigerators with cool pack – allowing the refrigerators to stay cool without power, as well as dual-sim technology and long battery life phones with battery standby times of up to 25 days.
Such technology innovation has been developed over time as not only has Samsung dispatched Korean Headquarter resources in Africa to fully understand the continent and its people, but also has African Country MDs to ensure local flavour and insight is added into every element of the company’s operations in Africa.
In line with our Samsung’s key value of co-prosperity, coupled with its Business and development sector partnerships, the firm, Park said now has a vision of developing technology that is built in Africa, for Africa, by Africa.
“As such, we will over the next few years be allocating more local R&D investment for further local product planning, design and development,” he said.
Founded in South Korea 42 years ago Samsung Electronics has curved a niche as the global leader in digital media and digital convergence technologies. With a solid presence across the globe, Samsung Electronics has continued to innovate and is currently using the Samsung Africa Forum as a flagship platform to develop its African market potential.
Recent market penetration efforts in the continent have helped to shore up Samsung’s market positioning where it’s now ranked as the African market share leader in the broad consumer electronics category, including being the No. 1 brand for TV\’s, SBS Refrigerators.
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