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Main market purchasing patterns - behaviours and influences

The main market, both in urban and rural communities, is predominantly influenced by communal perspectives entrenched in meaningful conversations, powerful storytelling, personal experiences and word-of-mouth interactions. These perceptions build interchangeable relationships that can shape positive brand sentiments, and influence consumers' product choices, purchasing decisions and consumption patterns at the base of the pyramid (BoP).
Miguel Correia
Miguel Correia

As a large percentage of this market segment has limited access to social media and digital communication platforms, they rely heavily on product referrals from trusted community leaders. Family members and close friends are highly influential when selecting which brands to purchase and they can be convinced at any point in the marketing funnel to switch their buying patterns.

Through face-to-face interactions, marketers can reach this audience on a more personal level and create word-of-mouth referrals. This positions brands at the forefront by gaining a large share of voice and is invaluable because low-income consumers tend to prefer products they perceive as industry leaders.


The stokvel acts as a saving society in which money is collectively pooled in agreed amounts among members belonging to the same investment basket. It represents a market place in which all purchases are made under great scrutiny by opinion leaders who have the buying power and influence to sway the purchasing choices of a larger group of consumers.

Premium brands are purchased in bulk from wholesalers and significant savings are made as customers receive more goods for their cash than purchasing directly from retailers in their individual capacity. This method has a very effective way of ensuring that BoPs are getting bang for their buck and that their hard-earned cash is buying them quality and quantity at the best possible price.

Price sensitivity

Lower-income earners are extremely price sensitive due to their limited income earning potential. Price fluctuations and economic conditions heavily impact their purse strings and they can’t afford impulse purchases because they feel the pinch of price increases significantly.

For this reason, where product differentials are minor, low-income earners withhold on purchasing premium items and opt for no-name or less superior varieties that are available at the lowest price. However, if a brand can prove that they are receiving quality in return for their investment, these cash-strapped buyers are not likely to overlook value and they will budget or save to include these products on their shopping list.

Brand activations

Brand activation is the consumer’s real experience of a brand, product or service. Rather than telling people about the features of a product or service, it engages the consumer by integrating the brand into their lifestyles. Brand activation offers personal interaction in the form of brand ambassadors who impart key messaging, features and benefits of the product /or service packaged through live edutainment. Because the audience is actively involved in these captivating experiences, it can build powerful connections to the brand.

For example, product demonstrations present an ideal platform to showcase brands and their unique qualities, while sampling opportunities drive trial and consumption and can ultimately change the buyer’s purchasing decisions. Furthermore, competitions and giveaways shape positive brand associations which can increase sales.

In summary, brands should be working closely with the main market to gain a thorough understanding of what members want and how FMCGs can deliver the right value at the best possible price. Brands also need to provide face-to-face encounters where information can be exchanged. This helps individuals connect with a brand and shapes authentic connections which can increase sales and switch consumer habits.

For more information about integrating your brand with consumers at the bottom of the pyramid, visit

24 Apr 2017 09:34


About the author

Miguel Correia is the marketing manager of established brand activation, entertainment and event company, the Zinto Marketing Group.