Marketing: Powered by Our Youth

Nigeria is the seventh most populated country in the World and the youth make up most of the country’s population. The country’s population of 175 million, as stated by the National Population Commission, is made up of more than 80 million young people. Now, that is almost twice the population of Ghana, Benin, Togo and Senegal put together!

However, Nigeria is not alone in this demographic structure. In most developing countries, Generation Y’ers make up most of the population. According to the United Nations, emerging markets especially in the Middle East and Africa have younger population compared to developed economies. At the beginning of 2013, half the population of developing economies were below 30 years old compared to 35.6% in developed economies. In India and China alone, the population of the youth is estimated at 704 million and 497 million respectively.

The importance of this intricate information to brand managers is the demographic behaviour of this market. Generation Y’ers are often the trendsetters who have a larger appetite for spending, compared to Generation X’ers.  As such, companies aiming to capture this sizeable market must make deliberate efforts to understand their interests and come up with strategies that will captivate their attention and win their loyalty.

According to Euro Monitor International, global population trends over the next few decades will largely be governed by decisions made by the 3.5 billion young people aged below 30 in 2012. A representative from the UN stated that the youth will be the new global power reshaping the world in the near future, and there are clear indications that this is already happening. The influence on social media alone shows this is evident.

In Nigeria, like most countries, youths constitute a big market for mobile phones, computers, fashion and lifestyle products, food, technology, music and entertainment. The Guardian, a UK based newspaper published a report on the purchasing power of young British students, saying that they account for almost half of UK’s youth population and contribute an estimated £20 billion to the UK economy every year. In the United States, 31 million young people between ages 12 and 19 control about $155 billion-worth of consumer spending, according to Teenage Research Unlimited, a market-research firm. All of these trends give an indication of the strong purchasing power of the youths.

Though Nigeria’s youths may not have a high purchasing power compared to youths in developed countries, the population size indicates the potential of exploiting opportunities in this market. In capturing this sizable market, companies investing in Nigeria must conduct adequate research on the demographics of this target market and tailor their products and services to fit the market trends.

Besides the opportunities derived from targeting the youth, this market is particularly key because of its future potential. With all other thing being equal, brands that win the loyalty of Generation Y’ers today will inevitably enjoy a lifetime of loyalty. As consumption patterns are being passed on from one generation to the next, the cycle will continue as long as quality and innovation are sustained in the product or service being provided.