, NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 10 – With the growth of the middle class and population of high net worth individuals in the country, opportunities for the luxury market are set to be on the rise.
New World Wealth Report 2014 statistics reports that the market generated Sh17.2 billion in 2013 derived from the sale of high end clothing, accessories, cars as well as hotels.
Luxury Consultant Maryanne Maina says the market is an untapped goldmine pointing out that the market is set to grow significantly in the coming years.
“There are a lot of opportunities in the luxury market, more Kenyans are becoming brand oriented, more international companies are setting base in the country, the economic power for the middle class is growing,” Maina told Capital Business.
She explained among the opportunities in the market include personal shopping services, luxury stores in hotels and airports as well as consulting services.
“There are many Kenyans who want to go and shop in Paris, Dubai but don’t have the time, others have got the money to spend but don’t know how to go about buying luxury goods – what works for them, what’s trendy.”
“We need luxury stores in hotels, malls and our airports to cater for the tourists who are keen on luxury, as well as businessmen who visit the country for business, I haven’t seen a proper luxury store in the hotels and the airport yet,” Maina says.
She says Kenyan manufactures, and craftsmen only tend to produce products that suit the average person, forgetting the high end market.
“Luxury is about an art, it’s about quality and it’s an experience people are willing to spend on. What I see with most Kenyan entrepreneurs is that they tend to copy each other, producers need to be creative and think outside the box, create a brand for the high end market the results are enormous,” she explained.
She says Kenyans think more about the returns than the quality of the product and service to customers.
“Luxury business has huge margins which make it attractive for investors; we have seen brands like Chanel doubling their prices in the last decade. Luxury must be comfortable, it’s not about the price, it’s about the craft, it’s about the product, the service the product gives you, that’s what people pay for,” she said.
She urged producers to think of the international market when crafting their products.
“Craft your product in such a way that it excites the international market that they can travel to the country just to purchase that product,” she said.