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Kenya's Current Number One Brands

EVERY season, the Reja Study lists the indicative market shares of consumer brands in over 20 categories.

Rising incomes, powerful supermarkets and expanded product choice have made leadership in today's markets tricky to hold on to; positions can and do shift drastically. All this make the latest report a must-read.

So which brands are winning, and which are not?

Supaloaf bread is definitely among the winners. It has held on to this position despite a strong challenge from the Uchumi and Tuskys house-brands. These supermarket-owned labels are popular with youth aged 15 to 19. Given that the majority of shoppers lie within ages 25 and 40, there's a strong likelihood of a future shift if the top brand isn't keen on retaining its position.

Bidco's brands have a reason to be happy too. The Kenyan manufacturer controls the largest part in the cooking oil category through several brands; Golden fry, Bahari, Elianto and Ufuta, which compete hard against each other. In the solid fat category, however, it’s an even split: Kasuku and Kimbo haven't decided who'll be the winner. Kasuku's sleek TV commercial is a sign of the heightened competition.

Still in the kitchen, the legendary Jogoo maize meal is back on top of its category. After a strong showing by Soko, which had taken the lead through an aggressive marketing campaign, Jogoo rebounded to its historic position one. This confirms two key rules of the market: it's easier to get to position one than to stay there, and super brands are not easy to dislodge.

For comparison, EXE, the leading wheat flour (currently at 52% market share), has held its lead for multiple years without challengers.

So if competition is absent in chapati category, where can it be found? The dairy category of course. Here no brand is dominant enough to claim victory, but Brookside and its associated house of brands have a good claim. Daima is their main challenger in the yoghurt category (maybe shoppers love its thickness) while their own Tuzo milk takes the fresh milk side. Holding off these two brands will take a lot of work from the influential dairy firm.

Kenyan cooks love Pakistan as well. At least as far as rice is concerned; for the leading brands are sourced from that Asian country. Compared to the previous year, fewer shoppers purchased Daawat but the brand's 16% kept it in the lead, with Pakistan rice second at 11%. Ranee, (billed as the 'queen of rice') and the softly sold Sunrice have risen, each achieving 9%. Meanwhile, Mwea Pishori continued to sink steadily in its position. A more polished shelf-appeal, especially as regards modern packaging and presentation to shoppers could reverse this. At least that's how Mumias, a local sugar brand, won a lead; more than 59% of shoppers remain loyal. Others such as Sony sugar have attempted to usurp the first mover, but Mumias has remained unstirred.

The impact of packaging and presentation on shoppers is seen also in fresh juice. Delmonte (tetra packed) has taken the lead from Afia (sold in PET packs). This is best understood as part of larger background trend that has seen shopping shift towards supermarkets from kiosks and dukas. Given that majority of shoppers also said they had experienced increased incomes, and expected more in the future, perceived quality will increasingly influence a brand's position.

Sweet products are invariably followed by oral care products, and here shoppers owe their smiles to a familiar trio of toothpaste brands. Colgate is the dominant one. Aquafresh and Close-up are the other two.

Another steady trio were Ariel, OMO and Sunlight. The rival detergents settled for their same old 1-2-3 pattern again this year. Competition is quite keen, and these three have taken it beyond supermarket shelves into media and even courts of law. Whether a judge will restore OMO's long lost lead is not certain, but the attempt is definitely worth a try: the market is worth billions.

In any case, bar soaps clean too; their category is dominated by Menengai, whose unassailable 23% share of market has left three strong contenders – Jamaa, Kuku and Whitestar battling for second.

What of personal care and beauty?

Valon and Vaseline remain in what some would call a steady relationship: despite multiyear rivalry, there have been no shifts in ranking for either (Vaseline always leads). In baby care, Pampers remains the generic name for diapers, and dominates with 71% market share, but the assertive Bouncy has steadily eroded its historic lead.

Nivea and Nice and Lovely square out the beauty market. The former's wide range wins the skin care category, while the latter takes the hair care category. In the crowded tissue category, Toilex is the undisputed leader, but increased in-store pressure has upped competition and advertising budgets as well.

Overall, Reja Study offers an insightful look into the intense, behind-the-scenes world of competition between brands. But underlying the ever changing contest is a number of constant factors: one is the legendary loyalty of Kenyan shoppers; this makes the number one position much more appealing. It has turned brands like Always sanitary pads, Blue Band margarine, Fanta soda and Fahari ya Kenya tea into icons (with three out of every four shoppers choosing them). Another is the high impact of in-store brand awareness on sales (especially through displays and POS ads) which has lowered the media costs as an entry barrier.

The third and most critical factor is a young shopper population that is currently experiencing big changes in personal income, aspirations and living standards. In this environment, the leading brands cannot afford to relax at all.

About Reja Research Study

The Reja study of 1,160 shoppers from all major towns of Kenya - Mombasa, Machakos, Nairobi, Nyeri, Nakuru, Eldoret and Kisumu - is conducted annually, with data collection done through the use of a structured questionnaire. It is unique in the market; it is the only study specifically designed to capture shopper (rather than consumer) behavior, beliefs and attitudes.

Further information on the study can be obtained by contacting:
Ruth Ruigu, Senior Research Executive
Consumer Insight
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Tel: 020 2146540/1/2 or 0720339631



#2 Guest 2014-02-05 14:53
Good info...n very insightfuL
#1 Guest 2013-12-02 16:49
Good website !
Would you know what is the annual production, importation and sales of handwash powder laundry detergent in Kenya ?
Your help will be much appreciated.
Thank you.
Mr Jaininder

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