(Xinhua) -- A growth in Kenya’s niche market amid
rise in incomes and increasing expat community has lured many
global shops in the East African.
While the most conspicuous entrants
into the East African nation are supermarkets, top consumer brands in clothes,
transport, food, banks and electronics have entered the market in the recent
The brands from different countries
are seemingly scrambling to enter Kenya as consumers both in high-end and
middle-income and the foreigners accept them.
Kenya is home to various international
organizations that include the United Nations Environment Programme and foreign
These organizations have seen the
expat community grow in Kenya providing ready market for the top brands.
Some of the top brands that have
entered Kenya include German engineering and electronics firm, Bosch, which
launched its first store in Central and East Africa in Nairobi last week.
Subway, a fast-food outlet, similarly,
announced last week plans to open four more branches in Nairobi.
For clothes shop, Kenyans have an
array to choose from, which include LC Waikiki, a Turkish clothing line, The
Foschini Group of South Africa, UK’s F&F and Austria’s and India’s jewellery
shops Swarovski and Anmol.
For cars, the luxury brands that have
set shop in Kenya include Porsche, BMW and Bentley, among top brands in various
At a top mall in Nairobi, one can shop
at a French supermarket, eat at a Chinese restaurant and buy clothes at an
American or UK shop.
The scene is replicated in various
high-end malls across the capital Nairobi, with the foreign brands taking
sizeable space in the facilities.
Henry Wandera, an economics lecturer
in Nairobi, attributed the entrance of top brands in Kenya mainly to growing
economy and Kenya’s position in the region.
“The top brands are finding Kenya
alluring because it is the region’s biggest economy. Once they establish in
Kenya, they can easily enter any other country,” he said.
He further noted that the Kenyan
retail market is fast-growing thanks to rising incomes, thus opportunities are
still huge in the country.
“If you look at the food sector, the
industry dominated by local shops, a majority with one or two branches. This
offers chance for bigger foreign brands to come in,” he said, adding the global
shops indicate that Nairobi is an attractive regional hub for investment.
Cytonn, a Nairobi-based investment
firm, noted that various international retailers have penetrated the Kenyan
market in the last six years.
The firm attributed the move to a
number of factors, which include expanding middle class and vibrant real estate
“Kenya’s private consumption
expenditure has recorded the highest growth, since 2013 when it hit 8.4 percent
in 2017, compared to 4.7 percent in 2016, 5.2 percent in 2015, and 4.3 percent
in 2014. This is attractive to the brands,” said Cytonn.
The number of ultra-high net-worth
individuals, those who are worth 50 million U.S. dollars and above in Kenya,
rose by 13 percent to 90 in 2017 from 80 in 2016, according to Knight Frank’s
Wealth Report 2018, with the number of wealthy Kenyans expected to increase by
58 percent on average by 2022. This is one of the reason that leads to an
increase in demand for luxury brands.
The rise in the top brands has had
great impact on the East African nation’s real estate sector, with developers
keen to build high-quality retail spaces that conform to international standards
to attract multinational firms.
“These firms reaffirm Kenya’s position
as one of the leading regional hubs for investments in the continent. We
therefore expect to see continued interest from foreign players and investors
coming into Kenya,” said Cytonn.