Efficiency for Access Consumer Research to Inform Priorities and Approaches for Solar TV Stakeholders
Efficiency for Access recently published a new report providing compelling preliminary evidence on the impacts solar TVs have on quality of life through the eyes of a consumer. The research provides valuable insights into customer demographics and usage of solar TVs in East Africa.
According to the 2019 State of the Off-Grid Appliance Market Report, TVs are among the most desired household appliances for households and businesses in off- and weak-grid environments. For off-grid stakeholders, a deep understanding of how customers perceive and interact with household appliances is essential for delivering quality service and lasting social impacts. Yet, little is known about the preferences of solar TV end users, and the role their appliances play in improving their overall quality of life. These knowledge gaps stunt market development for emerging technologies like solar TVs.
In an effort to accelerate the market for solar TVs, the Global LEAP Awards results-based financing program provided incentives to appliance manufacturers and off-grid solar distributors that partner to distribute large quantities of Global LEAP Awards Winning and Finalist products. Between June 2018 and June 2019, 60 Decibels conducted phone interviews with customers who purchased solar TVs from companies participating in the program in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. These customer interviews explored user demographics, usage, challenges and opportunities for market growth.
Key findings include:
- Ninety-two percent of customers believe their solar TV improved their quality of life. Reported social benefits included joy and family connection, as well as feeling better informed or educated.
- While customers were satisfied with their solar TV, a third reported challenges using the appliance. Unresponsive or delayed agent or staff communication exacerbated customers’ dissatisfaction with their solar TV.
- Over ninety-nine percent of solar TV customers bought their appliance on credit. Fifty-six percent of interviewees used regular income to pay off their loans, nineteen percent used savings and three percent borrowed from friends/family.
- Few customers (17%) believed they could find a good alternative to their solar TV. Lack of availability/options indicates the market landscape is non-competitive, vulnerable to skewed pricing, and poor after sales services. As the market grows more competitive, improving customer satisfaction will become more crucial for customer retention.
This report is designed to inform the approaches and priorities of the off-grid program actors, donors, and investors. Finally, given the nascent stage of many off-grid appliance markets, the report aims to catalyze further impacts research on solar TVs.