In-field market research is essential to collect specific qualitative and quantitative information.

We rely on a set of methodological tools to carry this out, for instance Rapid ethnographic assessments (REAs), focus groups, participatory workshops etc. These approaches provide opportunities to analyse the gap between the offering and the need of a specific mix of products or services, and assess existing and potential distribution channels.

Reciprocity also conducts quantitative surveys, collecting and analyzing data to understand the drivers of economic behavior.

Typically, the market research phase enables customers to prepare the next step, which is to implement : designing, testing and rolling out innovative models.

Our Experience


Orange is aiming to expand on the African market and Wifi connectivity is one of their fastest growing tools. Reliable statistics on data consumption in low income communities: market size, types of sites visited, purchasing power, etc, are currently very limited.

Reciprocity conducted a quantitative market research in the townships of Cape Town to determine the market potential in South Africa. Orange received testable quantitative data on the potential and trends of the low-income South African market

Senegal is trying to accelerate economic development by expanding access to renewable energy for its population, most particularly in low-income markets.

Approximately two thirds of Senegal’s rural population do not have access to electricity, which slows down growth and economic development. Reciprocity carried out a mapping study of Senegal’s solar energy market on behalf of UNDP, and validated the study’s findings by key stakeholders in the sector.

The validation process was followed by the launch of a collaborative platform in Senegal, bringing together key stakeholders of the public and private sectors to cooperate on a 3- year set plan of action, including reforming the tax code, harmonizing tariffs, encouraging investment and providing business development services.

Innovation Edge is a South African grant and investment fund focused on unconventional approaches to early childhood care and educational challenges. One of its investment targets is start-up’s specialized in tracking hearing and vision deficiencies among children in low-income communities.

Approximately 4% of children in low-income communities have hearing deficiencies. If left untreated this may concur in negative long term socio-economic consequences.

Reciprocity carried out an impact evaluation of the 14-month pilot project in the township of Mamelodi (Pretoria), formulated strategic recommendations to maximize the impact of the project and created a viable and scalable business model.

South Africa probably has more than 2.5 million micro-enterprises, i.e. mostly informal businesses that employ fewer than 4people. According to some estimates, between 30% and 70% of households in informal settlements are involved in some kind of income generation activity (Valodia, 2000, and Napier et al, 2002), and small businesses contribute an estimated 7 to 12% of South Africa’s GDP (Dewar 2005). How can these entrepreneurs take their business to the next level? What sort of tools could possibly help them increase their profits and contribute further to South Africa’s prosperity?

By talking and listening to a representative sample of 500 such entrepreneurs, we have sought to identify some of these tools, the means that could help them and their businesses achieve their full potential, reduce poverty and share in South Africa’s economic growth. These tools aim at addressing some of the entrepreneurs’ most typical challenges, such as lack of access to finance, poor levels of managerial, financial and technical skills, or the lack of access to risk mitigation (insurance).

Thanks to this survey, we have a more precise idea of the needs of entrepreneurs, and are in a better position to develop products that can close the gap between what is currently on offer and what small entrepreneurs need most to expand their business.

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The salty snacks market in Southern African is largely dominated by Simba, an established player in the market since 1956. A subsidiary of PepsiCo, Simba produces and markets a variety of products and flavours under nine main brands: Simba Potato, Lay’s, Doritos, Niknaks, Ghost Pops, Chipniks, Fritos, Simba Peanuts, Sunbites and Baked Simba.

Although Simba remains the undisputed market leader, a variety of competitors have appeared in recent years, especially in the market segments at the base of the pyramid (BoP). These emerging competitors are putting on the market products of an inferior quality, having a debatable health impact on the lower income segments.

Appointed by the R&D Africa Middle East of the PepsiCo group, the study seeked to provide specific insights into the BoP market to unlock the opportunities for the snack brand:

– Internal knowledge of BoP Market Strategies – Desk research
– Value Proposition Analysis of BoP Markets – field research

Based on communities discussions in Soweto, with all type of stakeholders at all level of the value chain, Reciprocity provided Simba with a range of opportunities to both develop new routes to the BoP Market and improve their social and economic impact.