*As ABC calls for synergy between FG and private sector to improve business environment
The Principal Lead MasterCard Advisors for Sub-Saharan Africa, Bola Asiru has urged business leaders, stakeholders and entrepreneurs to pay more attention to shift in consumer behavior and its implication for business.
Speaking during a webinar organized by the American Business Council, ABC in partnership with MasterCard, Asiru said that the COVID-19 global pandemic has led consumer to shift attention to digital payments stemming due to hygiene concerns around cash.
He explained that despite the fact that some sectors were negatively affected by the pandemic, financial services witnessed positive growth, “for instance, POS transaction volume and value reached a 4 year high with N416Bn of transactions in July while mobile transactions (interscheme) value also reached a 4 year high at N275bn of transactions, and also the use of Digital & Mobile platforms has had a positive growth impact on the telecoms sector.
“Despite this appreciable development, global growth forecasts have taken a downward trend due to the COVID-19 effect as majority of countries are not expected to reach pre 2020 growth estimates for another 3 to 4 years. Asian economies lead the return to growth with countries like China still showing positive growth in 2021.
South Africa has been the most COVID-impacted region on the continent and expectations are for a slower than average return to growth in 2021.
He regretted that agriculture which happened to be the leading contributor to Nigeria GDP in 2019 with 25 per cent has witness a growth decline in Q2 2020 to 2.57 percent, “West Africa’s return to growth in 2021 may be dampened by commodity price, devaluation and rising debt risk. Negative GDP growth with other indications such as inflation, unemployment, FX rate under pressure.”
He urged business stakeholders to revalidate their strategy and budgets to ensure it relevant to the changing customer behavior, “Balance your long term strategy with tactical action plans that respond to an unpredictable market while you also invest in digital.
“Create multiple customer engagement channels for repositioning your products and services such as online forum, surveys among others. Understand every step of the customer journey and how your business can add value. You need to cultivate habit of rewarding positive consumer behavior.
“Policies and guidelines must be consistent and reflect the shift in consumer environment and there should be improved engagement from Policymakers to leverage on private sector insights on consumer behaviour to shaping policies that will enhance consumer experience.
On her part, the Chief Executive Officer /Executive Secretary of American Business Council, Margaret Olele said that conference aimed to provide insights on the consumer behaviour shifts in Nigeria to relevant stakeholders in the public and private sector.
“This is to improve the way businesses operate and strategize based on data on consumer behaviour. Our advice to businesses is that data on consumer trends as well as technology to improve customer satisfaction should be critically considered.
“Policy makers should work with the private sector as partners in building or formulating policies. The private sector in itself is a data gold mine and will be of benefit to the Federal Government,” she noted.