31 July, 2012

Nokia connects with the youth in Kenya through smart phones

Local research reports validate the value proposition of the Nokia Asha range

Nairobi, Kenya – Nokia today shared a number of key trends identified by local research reports on Kenyan youth culture. This follows the recent launch of the Nokia Asha mobile phone range, signaling Nokia’s intent to connect with the youth market. The Nokia Asha range provides smartphone features at more accessible price points attractive to this vibrant market segment. Research now indicates that this strategy is paying off.

The Institute for Economic Affairs estimates Kenya’s youth to be around 9 million strong. In fact, those under the age of thirty-four comprise a staggering 78% of Kenya’s overall population, and over 80% of that target group has mobile phones. In terms of mobile internet usage, social networking is the clear leader at almost 60% of usage, followed by internet browsing, other forms of communication such as e-mail and chat, and streaming or downloading music.

“The youth in Kenya are all about self-expression,” says Bruce Howe, General Manager for Nokia East Africa. “Whether through music, fashion, technology or design, the youth are searching for individuality while at the same time being part of a socially connected community, and mobile phones play a key role in this always connected lifestyle. In fact, research indicates that the youth spend more on air-time than on any other item, including clothing and transport.”

Recently, Youth Dynamix (YDX) conducted research amongst the local youth market to identify trends and insights. The topline report called out five key pillars of Kenyan youth culture - music, entertainment, fashion, technology and sport. This is consistent with research that Nokia has undertaken, as well as insights from Instant Grass youth agency.

While music tastes vary and provide opportunity for individualism, it is clear that local music is hugely popular amongst the youth, with Camp Mulla emerging as a firm favourite. When it comes to entertainment, the youth are discerning and expect this to be tailor made for their needs with gaming gaining in popularity.

Fashion is another important pillar within the context of youth, who spend 64 billion Kenyan Shillings a year on clothes. ‘Avant-Garde’ fashion is also growing in popularity as the youth seek to stand out from the crowd, and second hand markets are the place to be seen, as they offer more affordable access to high fashion items.

Technology plays a central role in the lives of Kenya’s youth. YDX estimates that young Kenyan consumers send an average of 250 text messages per day, and over 40% surf the internet from their mobile phone daily. They are also at the forefront of social networking with 76% having a Facebook account and 61% a Twitter account. Social currency is important to these consumers and they like to be the first to know and share information.
“If you look at the value proposition of the Nokia Asha range, it aligns perfectly to the needs of the youth market,” adds Howe. “Nokia Asha offers freedom of choice across design, colour, form factor, feature set and price point. It also offers a seamless music and entertainment experience with thousands of apps at your finger-tips, and Nokia Browser for faster, cheaper and more enjoyable web browsing.”
The first Nokia Asha phones to arrive in Kenya earlier this year – Nokia Asha 200, 201, 302 and 303, all offered a full Qwerty keyboard and integrated social networking for the best possible social and chat experience. This unique range was brought to life through the ‘Let’s Qwerty’ campaign, these phones created a buzz in the local market and quickly gained traction.

Now Nokia has extended the range with two new products, the Nokia 202 and the Nokia 305, which is the first full touch Asha product. The Nokia 305 has the additional benefit of coming to market with an exclusive-to-Nokia offer of 40 free* to download games from Electronic Arts (EA), featuring much loved titles like Tetris®, Bejeweled®, Need for Speed(TM) The Run and EA SPORTS(TM) FIFA 12.
“Nokia Asha builds on our commitment to bring great mobile products to our consumers by truly understanding their needs. And the experience goes beyond the phones to the thousands of applications that are available on Nokia store, the innovation through Nokia browser, right down to our locally relevant marketing campaigns that are attracting the attention and admiration of the youth”, concludes Howe.
Nokia is currently running the “Don’t Break the Beat” campaign which is a search for East Africa’s top cypher from amongst the youth. Auditions in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have already taken place with several club battles now underway ahead of the national finals. This will culminate in early September with the East Africa finals, where the winner will walk away with 250,000 KES in prize money and a recording contract.
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