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Nairobi without hawkers. Coming soon?

Hawkers and kiosks are facing extinction if results from a survey conducted last year are anything to go by.

The TNS Mobile Life Survey shows that in the past five years, the number of hawkers has declined by 88 per cent.

The decrease has been attributed to improved purchasing power of consumers, growth of mobile money, proliferation of malls and supermarkets, distribution of products and their pricing.

“Distribution and pricing is major driver of success in retail market. This is tougher for hawkers and kiosks to get right,” said Eric Salama of TNS.

The number of dukas and kiosks has declined by 29 per cent during the same period of study, while supermarkets and hypermarkets have grown by 34 per cent.

Revenues by the billion

“Consumers have adapted to the absence of hawkers for the last five years. Apart from the city governments legislation that bars them from their activities in the streets, I think their biggest threat is the emerging shopping trend by Kenyans,” added Kim McIlwaine of the same firm.

The total revenue by the major retail players in Kenya is estimated at over Sh100 billion, but this is set to increase as more outlets are opened across the country.

Promotions killing kiosks

Nairobians are used to chaos on the streets during the evening hours because of haphazard display of wares by hawkers.

The four leading supermarkets in Kenya are Nakumatt, Tuskys, Uchumi and Naivas which have a total of 123 outlets.

Tuskys, Naivas and Ukwala target customers in the low and medium income groups, while Uchumi targets the middle income segment.

Nakumatt and Chandarana, on the other hand, target the middle and high end earners.

Other notable ones include Khetia’s Supermarket, Home Choice Supermarket, Home Depo Supermarket, Magunas Supermarket, Maathai Supermarket, Samrat Supermarket and Kassmart Supermarket.

To protect their turf, local supermarkets have rolled out attractive promotions, offers and discounts on purchases. Most have invested heavily in loyalty programmes.

Nakumatt has 750,000 smart card holders; Uchumi about 600,000, Tuskys 300,000, and Naivas approximately 160,000 in their loyalty programmes.