Corine, 21, is just wrapping up her college education and is hopeful of finding a good clerical job in Yaoundé, Cameroon’s capital. Trendy Aspirants like Corine represent the young face of Cameroon. They are tech-savvy, fashion-conscious and consider it important to stand out and be noticed. Listening to music and watching football are among their favorite leisure pursuits, which they often enjoy with a beer. According to Nielsen’s survey, while tea, carbonated soft drinks and coffee are the top beverages across other Sub Saharan African countries, alcohol and beer are more popular in Cameroon.

Corine exhibits consumption patterns that are quite similar to the older Progressive Affluents, who are employed as either junior management or senior management professionals. Progressive Affluents and Trendy Aspirants collectively make up 30 percent of Cameroon’s survey respondents. Nine out of 10 of them are educated at least up to secondary school and they are more likely than other segments to spend more on discretionary consumer packaged goods (CPG) categories like deodorants, breakfast cereals, insecticides and air fresheners. They also lead in ownership of consumer durables like refrigerators, microwaves and in their access to media.


General stores, convenience stores, and table tops are the most important retail channels in Cameroon for purchasing CPG products. Modern trade stores like supermarkets are visited by few. Like respondents in other Sub-Saharan countries Cameroonian respondents are habitual, often buying the same brand. When shopping, the prime concern of affluent consumers like Corine is to buy brands that they trust, while the mid to low income consumer segments–that make up 70 percent of Cameroon survey respondents–are primarily concerned with affordability. As Cameroonians are family oriented and like to plan for the future advertising that is centered on a family theme is most likely to resonate with consumers.

Nielsen identified seven consumer segments based on a face to face survey of 5,000 respondents across Nigeria, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and DRC. Variables used were: attitudes, age, socio-economic class, education level, and mobile and media usage. The family theme reverberates strongly across all groups, as does affordability and trusting the same brand. However, segments vary in terms of other purchase drivers and media consumption.

How They Buy

Consumer packaged goods (CPG) categories account for 41 percent of total monthly household expenditures. As modern trade is underdeveloped, the majority of Cameroonian respondents buy from traditional trade channels such as convenience stores, grocery stores, and table tops. High-income segments such as Progressive Affluents and Trendy Aspirants drive the penetration of CPG products such as snack bars, cheese, deodorants, air fresheners, and sports and energy drinks. The Evolving Juniors consumer segment express high interest to try most CPG product categories, with sports and energy drinks topping the list, making them valuable potential consumers as they grow older and gain more disposable income. Across all segments, brand loyalty and affordability are key purchase drivers. Marketing strategies that offer maximum value may entice consumers to try new products.

What They Watch

The media in Cameroon is subject to strict government regulations1. The state-owned Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV) is the most popular station on both TV and radio networks1. The Cameroon Tribune, the most popular newspaper in the country, is also government owned. Virtually all homes surveyed own a TV, making this medium the most effective platform to reach the masses. While mobile penetration is also high (96%), it is used primarily for basic services like text messaging. Compared to other Sub-Saharan countries; radio (63% penetration) is less popular in Cameroon.

In spite of high literacy(76%), readership of newspapers (30% penetration) and magazines (23% penetration) is low and is driven primarily by Progressive Affluents and Trendy Aspirants who also drive Internet penetration (35%). Google, Yahoo and Facebook are the three most popular websites.

What's the Opportunty?

Cameroon is making significant strides towards attracting business investment, improving agriculture and trade. Cameroon’s improving business environment combined with its fast-growing urban population offers numerous opportunities to potential investors. Among affluent consumer segments like the Progressive Affluents and Trendy Aspirants, the country offers a ready-market.

There is also an opportunity among lower income segments as they express high interest to try new products. However, the popularity of traditional trade channels implies that distribution can be challenging. To reach consumers, marketers will have to explore innovative approaches, such as caravan promotions, in-store promotion and word-of-mouth marketing. Marketing strategies that emphasise family orientation and affordability will win trust and loyalty of Cameroon’s consumers.