Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to expand knowledge about how middle class consumers in Sub‐Saharan African markets behave, focusing on the potential role of social networks and the subsequent interactions that take place between these consumers and firms. Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative research method approach comprising personal interviews and observations targeted at consumers and business executives was used covering all four countries. Findings – Key findings include identification of middle of the pyramid (MOP) social networks, their impact on consumer behaviour and nature of consumer and firm interactions that take place as a result of the impact of social networks. Research limitations/implications – The sample size was restricted to 80 consumers in each of the four countries. This might limit generalisability. Practical implications – The study provides managers with insights on the potential role of social networks on marketing to the MOP in Africa. Social implications – The study provides managers with insights on the potential opportunities for corporate social responsibility solutions at the MOP. Originality/value – Research into the middle class in markets other than western advanced economies is a relatively new area of study. The majority of studies on the middle class have focused on North America and Europe ignoring the merging middle class in Africa. Hence, this research expands knowledge by providing basis for exploring new insights on the emerging marketing opportunity within the middle class in Africa.
International Journal of Emerging Markets – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 15, 2014
Keywords: Social networks; Africa; Emerging markets