Luxury within the African market is often derived into those looking for that extra bit of comfort, and those who looking for extravagance, where Africa is concerned this can be seen as consuming several bottles of champagne, traveling to London or Dubai to shop, to purchasing luxury cars and private jets. The luxury market is beginning to realise, that although small there is a market for luxury on the African continent. Nigerians are amongst the top 10 consumers of Hennessy cognac in the world, which has resulted in Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA increasing its marketing within the Nigerian market.
Africa has gone from being looked at as the dark continent, the hopeless continent, to the continent that is rising, and is now being re-branded in the recent issue of the Economist as a continent which is aspiring, yes it is a continent with a disproportionate amount of poverty for all the natural resources it has, it also has many variables which contribute towards its complexities, we must also remember that it is a vast continent which is also disparate in nature, nonetheless just as poverty exists, so does luxury and the focus on Africa should not be about forgetting poverty, but focusing on progress.
Charity Oxfam recently acknowledged that aid organisations must change the way they see Africa to reverse the developing image problem that aid donations are making little change on the African continent. The fact that the average African is poor doesn’t mean they aren’t also aspirational, part of the success of luxury brands are that their appeal extends beyond the affluent consumer, they are also seen as a desirable status symbol for the emerging middle class, and in some cases even the desperately poor, it is not uncommon to see individuals with no shoes wearing imitation Gucci t-shirts or Louis Vuitton belts, if Africa is aspiring it will be the growing middle class who have some disposable income who will be using luxury as a way of increasing the quality of their lives.