Heineken’s leading beer brand in Asia is now selling fastest in Nigeria

The world’s second-largest brewer is using sports and entertainment to connect with young African consumers as investment and volume growth soar.

Tiger, Asia’s leading international premium brand, has become the fastest growing beer brand in Africa’s biggest economy, nearly doubling sales volume last year. Tiger is one of the brands helping Heineken, the world’s second largest brewer, to penetrate the most populous country on the African continent, which has around 200 million inhabitants, most of whom are under 30 years old.

“Tiger continued its successful rollout in Nigeria, making it Tiger’s third-largest market in the world and the largest outside the Asia-Pacific region,” Roland Pirmez, President Africa, Middle East and Europe, said. Driven by the growing adoption of Tiger, the volume of the company’s premium brands jumped 30% in Nigeria, supported by strong growth at Heineken and the successful launch of the Desperados brand in the country.

An increase in digital penetration in Nigeria due to faster internet speeds and smartphone usage is helping to boost sales of Tiger and other Heineken brands in the West African country. Heineken’s digital business momentum accounted for 75% of net revenue in 2021.

Sales on the company’s digital platform worldwide increased 130% in 2021 to 2.8 billion euros and are expected to reach 10 billion euros in 2025, it said in a statement. The platform is now operational in 30 markets including Brazil, Italy, France, Cambodia and Egypt as well as in Nigeria where it has helped boost sales.

While Nigeria and other African countries may have lower disposable income than others, they represent a large and rapidly growing population, making them a great opportunity for long-term beer.

”The Nigerian beer market remains attractive given its strong growth potential and an improving macroeconomic environment” Pirmez said.

It is not only in Nigeria that the Heineken brand is experiencing a surge in sales. Across the continent, sales rebounded strongly from the pandemic-induced slowdown in 2020 “stronger and faster than expected.” Nigeria has recovered strongly from its worst recession in four decades, with economic growth of 4% driven by a rebound in consumer demand and the non-oil sector of Africa’s largest economy, along with many economies African after the 2020 downturn.

“Overall, 2021 saw total volume surpass 2019 levels, driven by the performance of many markets in the region, particularly Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Pirmez said. International and local premium brands recorded strong performances in Nigeria, South Africa, Russia, Ivory Coast and Rwanda, Heineken said.

This is why Heineken is investing more in the continent, a sign of its growing confidence that Africa represents the next frontier of growth. The average age on the continent is under 25 and the average per capita beer consumption is around 22 litres, compared to an average of around 78 liters in developing markets. This gives plenty of room for expansion capability, which Heineken already does.

Nigeria has benefited from the 1.8 billion euros spent to increase capacity in five countries in 2021, including Brazil, Vietnam, Italy and Australia. Heineken has commissioned the first solar photovoltaic power plant to power the Ibadan Brewery plant in Nigeria, which will supply around 800 MWh to the brewery per year, reducing its carbon footprint on the continent by 10,000 tons.

The beer maker is also investing in other parts of the continent to take advantage of growing populations, investing more than $250 million on the continent in 2021. It unveiled a $100 million brewery in Mozambique, a brewery of $11 million in Congo and a $119.5 million brewery. factory near Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. And the Dutch brewer is using pop culture, driven by music, film, social media and sport, to enlist a generation unafraid to be authentic.

Other global players also see potential in the continent as it bounces back from the pandemic. Google, which opened its first artificial intelligence center in Ghana in 2019, has pledged to invest at least $1 billion over the next few years. Microsoft is also investing in Africa with the Microsoft Africa Development Center (ADC) and the Microsoft Africa Research Institute (MARI) in Nairobi, Kenya. CDA plans to invest $100 million in new technologies in the first five years, while MARI uses AI cloud technology to improve productivity.

Facebook is investing heavily in infrastructure to help more people connect to the internet and is seeking to do so by investing in 2Africa, an undersea cable system expected to be the largest in the world.

”There has never been a better time for brands to align their interests with those of young Africans’, says Tunji Adegbite, whose company, Naspire, provides business research to brands on the continent. ”Yes, they want to drink beer and have fun, but they are also passionate about sports, music, fashion as well as cinema and the arts. Only brands that demonstrate they care about these things will win today and in the future.” And that’s what Heineken did with Tiger, Radler and Desperados.

Uniquely, sports has been one of the most successful strategies Heineken has adopted to drive sales and market penetration in Africa by connecting with football fans on the continent. Almost 20 years after its debut as a sponsor of Europe’s popular Champions League football tournament, Heineken has this year executed the continent’s most elaborate Champions League trophy tour, with visits to the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Mozambique, Ethiopia and Nigeria. . Fans from Rwanda and Congo Brazzaville also attended the tour in Nigeria and DRC respectively.

The tour was led by Clarence Seedorf, the first and only player to win the UCL with three different clubs – Ajax, Real Madrid and AC Milan; who was joined by African legends Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, Taribo West, Davido, Daniel Amokachi and others.

With around 60% of Africa’s population under the age of 25 and a young population that is expected to be double the population of Europe by 2100, sport and entertainment has become a great platform to connect on the continent. Grammy-winning and multiple-nominated Burna Boy is a brand ambassador for Heineken’s Star Lager Beer, while soccer legends like Okocha and Amokachi are regular advocates. The company sponsors fashion shows and festivals and holds the record for the longest-running music concerts on the continent.

”When you look at the history of brands like Heineken in Africa, the reason they connect so well locally is because they understand and speak the language. They know what people want and they meet that need; in the process, they gain cultural significance and impact beyond their actual activity. It is a concept that all African participants must understand if they want to win here.”

Meanwhile, the African continent is known for its passion and drive for football. An estimated 400 million Africans go online every week to watch European football matches, especially those featuring the continent’s most followed teams – Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Barcelona. The growth and success of the continent’s football professionals such as Senegal’s Sadio Mane, Egypt’s Mo Salah and Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez have further fueled this interest and passion for European football. On Champions League football match nights, the streets and bars are filled with cheers with every kick.

It’s no surprise, then, that UEFA and Heineken have embarked on the biggest UCL Trophy tour to Africa – The first ever trophy tour since the global COVID-19 pandemic. Getting closer and experiencing the coveted UCL trophy is indeed an exciting opportunity for many African football fans.

With the Dutch football legend and AC Milan in attendance, the UEFA Champions League trophy toured the cities of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Maputo in Mozambique, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and Lagos and Abuja in Nigeria. Fans from Congo Brazaville and Rwanda also got to experience the tour in DRC and Nigeria respectively. Clarence Seedorf. With the tour coinciding with the quarter-finals of the 2021/2022 Champions League season, football matches featuring Chelsea, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Liverpool and Bayern Munich further heightened the excitement of the tour of the trophy.

Heineken is the most international beer in the world, sold in 192 countries. The brand has been a sponsor of the UEFA Champions League since 2005, offering football fans the opportunity to enjoy exceptional football and have fun with the best brand of beer.

Sitting with a bottle of Heineken beer while watching a Champions League game is a common sight in various football viewing centers across Africa, so much so that the brand is called the beer of the league champions. It’s also a warm feeling to see football fans involved in debates after the end of a Champions League match over a few bottles of Heineken beer.

For UEFA, wooing fans around the world has become even more important given the threat of losing relevance, as the case of the ‘Super League’ shows. In 2021, 12 top European clubs – including Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Barcelona, ​​Real Madrid and Inter Milan – attempted a breakaway European ‘Super League’ to woo their loyal supporters with the promise of quality football superior. The move sparked massive outrage from fans, players, club managers and influential figures like British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and former footballer David Beckham criticizing the idea. Heineken offered his support for UEFA and the UEFA Champions League with a witty social message – “Don’t drink and start a league”, which went viral and further immersed fans in a frenzy.

The African continent is one of the most populated regions in the world, with more than 1.3 billion inhabitants in 2018, which represents approximately 16% of the world’s human population. The African continent is seen as a potential market for the growth of competition and for the beer brand.

Football is the most popular sport in Africa with around 400 million Africans regularly logging on to watch the UEFA Champions League each season.

Given the continent’s population, dynamism and passion for sport, UEFA and Heineken have therefore teamed up to take home the prestigious UEFA Champions League trophy on a tour of Africa in aim to inspire a new generation of African football fans and appreciate their love for the UEFA Champions League and Heineken.

The tour also aimed to create a stronger affinity for Heineken with consumers across Africa, bringing the UEFA experience closer to the African community.

Above all, Heineken used this tour as a way to celebrate the passion of African football fans.