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November 17, 2018

The growth of luxury brands in Kenya

With a growing middle class coupled with a growing economy, it is no surprise that more and more Kenyans are opting for luxury brands or items that epitomise the luxury lifestyle.

And nothing says luxury like Champagne, it is irrefutably tied to exclusivity and success. It has launched ships, toasted weddings and celebrated countless special occasions.

“A party without champagne, is just a meeting” says Lucia Musau, Marketing/PR consultant for Moet

“No, a party without Moet, is just a meeting” adds Alexandre Helaine, marketing manager for East Africa. “You are not sad when you drink champagne, it’s for when you are happy, when something is good in your life, when you’re celebrating, when you are with your friends. Champagne is the drink for that occasion.”

It is evident to see that Kenyans have embraced the luxury beverage as more than just a status symbol, but as an experience. An idea that Alexandre is keen to establish.

“Drinking champagne is an experience. We try to educate our consumers on the different flavours you can get, or combine the drink with an event that gives a shared experience of visual, taste and atmosphere, trying to use all six senses when you drink it.”

Not to be confused with sparkling wine, Champagne does often come with a much higher price tag. The reason for this, is in its preparations. Where a bottle of sparkling wine can take a few weeks to make, Champagne takes 2 years to prepare.

“For Moet, it’s coming from the region Champagne and the grapes from that region are the most expensive in the world. Everything is done by hand by the master assemblage, who’s making it with 180 years of experience.”

Kenyans are among the top drinkers in Africa and for a long time, the demand for luxury beverages such as Moet Chandon was greater than the supply.

“As a Kenyan, we are getting more and more exposed to quality. Before, it wasn’t that we didn’t want to buy it, but certain things were not in the market.” Says Lucia “Now we know about it, we can enjoy it. Because of our demand, they will keep coming to the market.”

Alexandre adds, “Kenya is the most open business for luxury brands as you have the middle class growing a lot. It is building and endorsing a lot of new cultures, so it’s a very nice platform for luxury brands to grow.

Social media also plays a large part in this increase for demand. Every second, a bottle of champagne is opened around the world, and often this is posted to the various social media platforms increasing their popularity.

And in Kenya, champagnes popularity is growing beyond just Nairobi. Moet has seen expansions to Kisumu, Naivasha, Mombasa and Eldoret.

Alexandre said, “Since the beginning, we have had a Moet rep in Kenya and it showed good sales, but the demands were always higher than the possibility to get the product in the country. We still don’t know the limit, every time we order, it sells directly which means we’re ordering more and more.”

With more 5 star hotels and high-end bars and clubs opening in the city, the trend will undoubtedly continue, meaning that more luxury brands will start to make their way to Kenya.

“It’s difficult to put a limit on champagne, it’s a new category in a way and the potential is huge. In terms of distribution, the volumes are high in Kenya. So, we think that not only in champagne, but also other luxury drinks like cognac, we will be the third highest consumers in Africa.”

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