Ask Afrika's Kasi Star Brands survey, which measure township specific brand usage across 163 categories, reveals the connection between economic hierarchy and alignment to traditional customs and contemporary life values amongst township consumers.
Just as in suburbs, there are geographic socio-economic divides within townships and each of these areas have a certain social milieu, but the individual living within each of these is as varied as in suburbs. There are many complex factors that determine an individual's alignment with traditional versus contemporary value systems but there is a correlation between economic standing and this spectrum.
Socio-economic status in townships is often linked to life values. On the bottom end are the survivors. Everything they do is calculated to survive and add more value to life. Every cent they spend needs to give them a return, they stretch ingredients in cooking and their shopping behaviour is promotion driven. Survivors are more traditional, but will do what they can to uphold their social standing, and pretend to have a better life than they do. The women, who are often the ones buying groceries, honour their 'womanhood'.
Every purchase decision is very technical and calculated and this group has mastered the art of surviving and living on very little. Townships are not necessarily their home, but they are trying to make the best they can with what they have. Survivor life is orientated towards sharing and the ability to do this is often part of upholding social status. Stokvels and joint shopping makes sense and the way this is done is very sophisticated.
The middle economic segment is more materialistic. They still have affordability issues, but the primary focus is on social mobility and status, which is often based on pretence. Social standing in the here and now is central and there is a short-term vision. This group often live way beyond their means. There is no linear relationship between price and income. This group are the least traditional and value contemporary lifestyles, they want to be seen as modern and 'with it'. Their life values are based on expression of status, access, owning their own lives, feeling good and being respected.
This top economic tier is more self-actualised. They can afford to move out of the township, but do not. They are proud of their heritage; they value tradition, but express this through a modern lens. They value both tradition and what a contemporary lifestyle has to offer and balance the two. They do not see why they need to conform to Western ideals to be worthy and there is pride in Black consciousness. This segment is highly ambitious and educated. Education is a differentiator or splitting variable. This group pretends less, earns more and builds the community from a perspective of pride.
One cannot think of township residents as walking demographics. Proximity does not create homogeneity, it is important for marketers to grasp the undercurrents and the role that alignment to traditional customs and contemporary life values has on the purchase decision. Marketers need to understand the complex levels of planning, calculated living in the township environment, where purchase decisions are often less impulsive and spontaneous.
Ask Afrika interviewed 6,763 Kasi consumers, which represents the views of almost 9.7 million Kasi consumers living in South Africa. The survey represents 73% of the overall South African township population. Face-to-face interviews were done within Kasi-households. BDO, an external company and Dr Neethling was asked to check all results. In this year's survey 24 Kasi Star Brands were identified, followed by winners across 163 product categories. These are the brands and products you are most likely to find in a South-African Kasi-household.
To order a report, email Maria Petousis at , Julie-Anne Terblanche at or call +27 (0) 12 428 7400.
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