Environmentally speaking, selling wine from Africa in Africa makes sense. Why then does South Africa only a have a 6% share in Nigeria’s wine market?
Like many countries in Africa, Nigeria has several challenges, one being delays when it comes to registering a wine brand with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). Add to this confusing procedures during registration and you begin to understand the reasons behind South Africa’s small market share. But with a massive shift in wine consumption from mostly men aged 40-60 to men and women aged 18-45, we need to adopt a positive attitude and show some understanding of the dynamics involved when doing business in Africa.
Nigeria currently imports 71% of its wine from Spain, 10% from America, 6% from South Africa and 4% from France. But Spain’s massive market share in Nigeria is about to change very soon, Wosa marketing manager Matome Mbatha says. “Spain dumps its cheap wine in Africa, but will soon lose its dominance as consumers are becoming more knowledgeable about wine and their palates are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Very soon demand for consistently high-quality South African wines will be the order of the day.”
South African exports grew slightly year on year with 279 979 litres white wine exported in 2017 compared with 275 976 litres in 2016. Red wine exports however declined from 815 102 litres in 2016 to 570 575 litres in 2017. Looking at the total picture, our export figure fell from 1 362 981 litres in 2016 to 975 643 litres in 2017.
Its clear Nigerians prefer red wine (70% of shelves are packed with red wine) but Matome says this is only because they’re influenced by what they’re exposed to and a perception that wine should be red. But as knowledge of this developing market increases and with the massive shift in consumption from older males to a younger generation of both male and female consumers, wine shelves will soon make space for more white wines.
Wosa’s recently deployed education and training programmes should begin to yield results soon, but expansion and investment in these are necessary. “Repeat market visits by brand owners are also important to build longstanding and sustainable business relationships as these are a huge driver of business in Africa in general,” Matome says. Despite the many challenges of exporting to an African country, it simply makes more sense to stock a product that comes from Africa rather than one that comes from another continent. “South African exporters often feel despondent about this market, but we need to understand the dynamics of doing business in Africa. It’s all about having a positive attitude, being patient, respecting the market conditions and embracing this market.
“South African brand owners need to treat African markets with the same respect and commitment to build their brands as they would developed markets. Consumers and the trade expect no less.”
With 162.5 million citizens, Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa and makes up 2.35% of the world’s population. It also means one in every seven Africans is a Nigerian.
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