Why invest in the Cameroon automobile market
In 2012 vehicles sales in Cameroon increased by 6.7% and over 450,000 vehicles are in circulation in Cameroon, 3,257 vehicles are imported per month, automobile imports have increased more than 44.8% within the last five years, according to Cameroon Ministry of Transport.
Why the increase in demand
- The stable economic growth of Cameroon has lead to an increase in purchasing power, economic activities and living standards.
- The Cameroon government is buying more machinery and equipments to develop its local infrastructure
- Increase in large scale agriculture is increasing the demand for machinery
- Entrepreneurs are investing in the transport business due to the increasing needs of movement of goods and individuals from one part of the country to the other,
- Companies are investing in their logistic network due to increase in their activities; individuals are buying personal cars as they experience an increase in purchasing power.
All these factors might be considered as passive to boost the Cameroon automobile market, but when given a second thought and couple with the fact that there is no local manufacturing of automobile and machinery going on, it becomes clear that the Cameroon automobile and machinery market just like others in Sub-Sahara Africa has a very high potential for growth.
The rise in demand for automobiles, equipments and machinery in Cameroon is evident. However, it is shocking to see how few automobile and machinery dealers actually invest time and money to promote their stock in Cameroon. By making a simple analysis and various comparisons, we came to the conclusion that any used automobile dealer willing to invest by promoting its business in Cameroon and Sub-Sahara Africa will experience an increase in about 20-30 % of sales after the first 3-6 months of its active promotion.
How most foreign automobile dealers target their clients in Cameroon and Africa
- Many companies simply rely on clients in Cameroon/Africa to accidentally arrive on their website after googling several different keywords. But the problem with these methods is that there are thousands of websites just like yours. How do you standout in this ocean of websites offering the same products to the same clients.
- Most companies rely on Google ad words, website optimization, search engine marketing, link building and other keyword optimization techniques, these might get their website to show up on Google first pages, but for how long and at what cost? You should be thinking about the percentage of your clients that are connected to the internet in Africa and you’ll quickly realize you might not be getting the best return on your investments.
- Some companies consider themselves to be too big and have already enough clients in Africa to waste valuable time and money to promote their stock in Africa. The question is, for how long will these clients keep coming accidentally? What are you competition doing, are they promoting directly?
- Other automobile companies rely on the yellow pages and other business directories to attract clients from Cameroon/Africa. Some work with local agents in Cameroon and across Africa to get new clients.
- While others basically use social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media websites to announce new stock and engage clients.
We recommend all the above methods but to increase your sales by up to 30% in Cameroon or Sub-Sahara Africa you have to better strategize your marketing budget and effort.
First of all you have to know where your most of your clients might come from or are coming from and decide on the best tools and strategies to target them.
To better reach clients in Cameroon, Central Africa or Sub-Sahara Africa, we suggest the following marketing strategies.
- Local agents or representative: work with local agents to promote your products to local importers, government procurement agencies and individuals. These agents should be seen as part of your brand in Cameroon/Africa, so you have to:
- Give them enough information about your company and products.
- Provide them with marketing materials, your catalog, flyers, T-shirts and other company identification items
- Design a marketing plan with clear objectives and estimated number sales to be made on a define period of time
- Pay them on a fixed and commission basis and treat them as part of your staff
- Work with local representatives who already have and experience in the field, have enough knowledge about the industry and sales skills. They should be able to quickly tell you what type of automobiles and machinery are increasing or decreasing in demand and the market prices of these products.
Good Read: How to get a reliable agent in Africa
- Establish a physical presence: a physical presence might sound like more engagement than necessary and it might seem expensive. However we strongly recommend setting up a local office in your target market. This will instantly create an intelligent exposure, brand awareness and gain clients confidence that you can never get from all your online marketing effort combined. This method might take more of your time but will certainly bring you a better return on your investment. Establishing a local presence might be, creating a local subsidiary or partnering with an existing dealer. With this method you will certainly be exporting more than your competitors. This is a proven fact because; the Cameroon automobile market is dominated by a company with a wide local presence in Africa, TRACTAFRIC. This company control 80% of the TRUCK and 33% of the automobile market in Cameroon, 8 out of every truck in Cameroon was bought from them and 1 out of every 3 vehicles is sold by them.
Another advantage of having a local presence is the fact that you automatically qualify to apply for government tenders to supply trucks, trailers and buses. Some of these tenders are worth several million dollars.Local and non-governmental organizations such as the United Nations and other small NGO’s require frequent supply of customized vehicles; this opportunity is given to companies with a local presence.
Some automobile dealers with a local presence in Cameroon have been able to enter into a partnership with renowned local banks to help clients finance the purchase of automobiles and machinery thereby increasing their sales several folds within a short period of time.
- On and offline marketing to better target potential clients: your online marketing might principally be through Google, business directories and social media. It is important to also target local clients by placing your banner on popular local websites, newspapers or TV. Creating a website using country specific top level domain name such as .cm for Cameroon or .ng for Nigeria. It is well known fact that companies that work hard to be view as local brands easily gain acceptance and hence increase in sales.
Some facts about Cameroon
Though many used automobile and machinery exporters to Cameroon might not know this,
- Cameroon is the largest market in Central Africa and the second largest in French Africa, making it a strategic market in Sub-Sahara Africa and a gateway to over 250 million consumers.
- Cameroon has a population of 23 million inhabitants with a growth rate of 2.6%.
- The main language is French, though an estimated 50 % of the population are bilingual, they understand and speak English and French.
- Cameroon registered a GDP of 27 billion in 2013 and growth rate of 5.5 %
- Cameroon’s two major cities are Douala and Yaounde with estimated population of 2.449 million and 2.432 million respectively
- Imports in Cameroon were estimated at $6.795 billion in 2013. Cameroon’s main imports are; machinery, electrical equipment, transport equipment, fuel, and food. China, France, Nigeria, Belgium, USA and India are the main exporters to Cameroon.
Good read: Business related facts about Cameroon
The market of certain automobiles have been diminishing due to the increase use of bikes as a mode of transport and stricter import regulations by some governments, however this have a limited overall effect in the automobile and equipment industry in Cameroon.
To better promote your products in Cameroon/Africa you can enter in a mutually beneficial agreement with A54 Marketing Group. We are open to promote and market the products of selected automobile and machinery dealers in Cameroon/Africa on a commission basis and/or against a set-up fee. To learn more about our terms and conditions, send an email to email@example.com .