2024 Digital Trends in Kenya - What Must Brands Do Next?

A few short days after joining Nendo, I was granted the opportunity to attend an industry forum, albeit virtually. The ISA forum - Predictions for 2024 / 2023 Year in Review - proved to be rich. The mix of marketers, researchers, agency talent, and students is what makes ISA’s gatherings special events. I thought to share takeaways for brands, businesses, and nonprofits, along with added insights on what brands must do next.

Economic Challenges and Consumer Behaviour

The tougher fiscal environment in Kenya, elimination of consumer subsidies and tax exemptions, along with a weakening shilling all contributed to essentials such as flour (known as 'unga') and cooking oil dominating consumer baskets in 2023. This highlights a shift towards prioritizing necessity over luxury.

While inflation rates have gradually eased coming into 2024  - dropping from 9.2% in February 2023 to 6.3% in February 2024 (Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, Feb 2024) - the economic landscape continues to shape consumer spending behaviours significantly. A significant portion of consumers report feeling financially strained (NIQ, Dec 2023), primarily due to the rising cost of living. 

Brands must recognise the importance of value in their offerings, ensuring that their products align with the financial realities of their target audience. 


This happens as brands seek to provide less of their items (in SKUs), for the same price as referenced by Sagaci recently. Skimplflation - an even lesser-known tactic in which brands reduce the quality of their offerings - may also be in the offing. This may include removing some ingredients from the product while retaining the price tag. This thread on X highlights the use of this tactic by a local brand.

Meaningfully Different Brands

The Meaningful Different Salient (MDS) framework, as defined by Kantar, measures how consumers perceive and value a brand based on these criteria. Expect to see brands that have a consistent emotional connection to their users on top of actually delivering winning value. 

How fast does your brand come to mind when we talk about a particular niche? To what extent does your brand offer something not offered by other brands? Answering these questions will be key to being meaningful while also being different.

Consumer Awareness and Perceptions of Generative-AI Ads

What is the state of consumer awareness and perceptions of AI in Kenya?

A study by One Pulse found that over 60% of consumers thought that AI-generated ads were human-generated. It goes beyond that - 37% of consumers found AI generated ads relatable compared to only 31% of conventional non-AI ads. An unexpected stat - but one that could have a profound impact on the adoption of AI-generated creative assets by Kenyan brands. An overarching theme for all consumers however, is transparency. Consumers value honesty when it comes to using AI in your marketing.

FMCG Market Dynamics

The Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector has seen a 3.3% value growth over the past year (NIQ, Dec 2023), driven largely by food categories. Despite this value growth, unit sales have declined by 10.6%, indicating that price increases, rather than volume growth, fuel this trend. This suggests a critical need for FMCG brands to balance pricing strategies with consumer value perception to maintain market share.

The Digital Shift: Mobile Dominance and Web Traffic

In 2024, mobile devices account for 77.7% of web traffic, according to a study by the Digital Monkeys, underscoring the importance of mobile-optimized experiences. The rise of connected TV also highlights a shift in consumer preferences, with tablets falling out of favour (Digital Monkeys, 2024).

For brands, this means adopting a mobile-first approach in digital marketing strategies while ensuring their online presence is accessible and engaging across all devices. Being on the lookout for fast-shifting trends may provide brands with a much-needed unfair advantage in connecting to their customers and reaching new audiences.

Accessing Online Information: The Role of Search Engines and QR Codes

Search engines remain a go-to source for online information. Nendo’s various studies and the 5 S’s of the internet confirm this with Google’s dominance. However, as Grace Kite of Magic Numbers recently shared, depending on generations, there are other options emerging, particularly from social networks.

QR codes are also resurging since the pandemic when they peaked as an alternative to touching, sanitising, and handling different paper items. 

So what can brands do about this? Well, it starts with considering their ability to participate in visualsearch - utilizing high-quality images and relevant alt tags. Prioritizing accessibility is increasingly important in an increasingly conscious and responsible market. Maintaining a strong presence on social networks is crucial for visibility and engagement.

They can also engage Nendo for social media listening focused on their logos and visually distinctive assets. This means finding images from social media where a brand name is not mentioned, but a logo or product is seen. Reach out to Nendo via hello@nendo.co.ke or the contact form if you’re interested in learning more about this.

Leveraging Social Media for Brand and Product Research

Brands that establish thought leadership and engage actively on social platforms can enhance their appeal and connect more effectively with their audiences. With WhatsApp and TikTok leading in usage and popularity (Digital Monkeys, 2024), leveraging these platforms for direct communication and marketing can provide a competitive edge. Social media in general is a key tool, especially among younger audiences as earlier highlighted, who trust their social contacts to review and recommend products.


The landscape of 2024 presents both challenges and opportunities for brands willing to adapt and innovate. By understanding and responding to the key trends shaping consumer behaviour and market dynamics, companies can navigate the complexities of the current economic environment and emerge stronger. 

Focusing on enhancing mobile-friendly experiences, engaging with consumers on their preferred platforms for increased brand visibility and engagement, adapting advertising strategies to the evolving dynamics of digital platforms, and paying attention to the rise of GenAI are some of the essential strategies for success in this dynamic market.

Nova Waithaka, Data Analyst Nomad at Nendo

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