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South Africans stick to iconic brands despite complex consumer landscape

The way that consumers interact and engage with brands is fundamentally different from five years ago.

The relationship between consumers and brands has never been more complex. We have never had more information available, yet we see a decline in both customer experience and brand commitment. Consumers are overwhelmed and are becoming extremists, self-orientated, demanding and tech-savvy.

Ask Afrika’s Icon Brands is about local relevance and brands that almost all South Africans always or mostly use.

Consumers now traverse the physical and digital worlds in a fluid way. They are used to switching between dual realities, and there is an increased tendency to switch between brands. Consumers are extending their brand repertoires and there is less solus usage (where consumers use only one brand within a product category). There are, however, certain brands that South Africans across the board continue to love and stick to.

The Ask Afrika Icon Brands is the largest annual benchmark survey of its kind. Now in its 10th year, it measures loyalty across 237 brand categories and thousands of brands. Despite the challenging consumer landscape, 50 brands achieved Icon Brand status in the 2019/20 Ask Afrika Icon Brands, with 12 new brands entering the prestigious ranking. 

The 2019/20 Ask Afrika Icon Brands winners were recently announced. Kiwi shoe polish secured first place, followed by Sunlight dishwashing liquid, Coca-Cola, Defy stoves, Defy ovens, Dettol liquid antiseptic, Koo tinned beans, Lucky Star tinned fish, Defy hobs and Mageu No. 1. Most of these brands have consistently managed to remain in South African consumers’ repertoire of usage. Defy is a newcomer in the top rankings this year. 

Ask Afrika’s Icon Brands is about local relevance and brands that almost all South Africans always or mostly use. Icon Brands always form part of the repertoire of brands consumers buy from. The survey looks at current consumer behaviour and usage, and this is what differentiates it from other brand surveys.

The Icon Brands survey is the holy grail for brand owners as it measures brands that consumers buy and use on a regular basis. This is the most difficult to achieve, compared to brand footprint, affinity, or brands that consumers claim to love.

Shoprite plans smaller stores and more shops in containers

In Shoprite’s latest results presentation, it detailed exciting strategies, which included the news that the group is planning more smaller stores, closer to its customers, and more shops in containers.


“The Shoprite Group is considering smaller, more capital-efficient store formats across all its supermarket brands,” the group announced. While the traditional Shoprite stores are between 2 500m² and 5 000m², the Shoprite Mini stores are around 1 250m² to 1 800m².

These smaller Shoprite supermarkets as well as the Usave eKasi stores, which are in containers, have already “established viability and continue to scale”.

“These small-format stores offer a limited range of basic foods at everyday low prices to lower-income consumers and are often located in previously underserved communities in South Africa.”

Shoprite also launched the first of its k’nect stores. The stores focus on money transfers, travel and event tickets, insurance and mobile devices and accessories. The stores also have express tills for accounts and bill payments, airtime and cellphone data, as well as buying electricity and Lotto tickets.

Lobola Negotiations Agreement for Marriage available at Shoprite for R99

The Lobola Negotiations Agreement for Marriage is a pre-packaged agreement created by entrepreneur Jabulani Mahlangu in partnership with Hortors Stationery, the supplier and manufacturer of legal publications, forms, books and notices including lease agreements.

The product was officially rolled out at Shoprite stores for R99. Mahlangu said he was inspired after having served as a recorder in lobola negotiations and observing that the traditional method of writing multiple drafts before a final draft was approved by both families was time-consuming and inefficient.

In the document, there are spaces to fill the full names and ID numbers of the bride and groom and those representing each side, their contact numbers, address and signatures.

Soweto gets fibre to the home

In May, Telkom marked the 50th anniversary of the United Nations World Telecommunications and Information Society Day at Orlando West Secondary School to celebrate Soweto’s latest accolade as the first South African township to receive fibre to the home. Service providers are now beginning to supply fibre links to the area.

According to Telkom Group chief executive Sipho Maseko, Telkom has invested in fibre to the home in Soweto because Telkom believes that access to broadband has become a necessity for human and economic development.

Addressing students of Orlando West High School, Maseko said the availability of the fibre will help Sowetans bridge the digital divide by bringing the world to people’s doorsteps.

Residents and businesses in Diepkloof and Orlando West will now receive faster connectivity and a better network experience. The availability of fibre in Soweto supports the township economy revitalisation strategy. Business can now get up to 1Gpbs of fibre enabling faster and reliable connectivity for their business.

Approximately 60% of the people working on the Telkom fibre rollout are Soweto residents, which adds to job creation in the vibrant township.