Snapshot of spending patterns shows how food costs dominate our lives
What do you get when a digital bank and a credit card payment company collaborate to find out how the Covid-19 pandemic has influenced South African consumers’ spending patterns?
These are the main findings from the Spendtrend23 report, released by Visa and Discovery Bank:
- High food inflation is particularly affecting the “mass market” — in other words, most South Africans are spending almost 50% more now on their groceries than they did in 2019. Fifty percent!
- South Africans’ credit card spend has bounced back and is now more than 20% higher than pre-pandemic levels. And not all of that is on “nice-to-haves” — groceries, travel and eating out account for most of that additional spend.
- Load-shedding escalating to stages 5 and 6 is good for the restaurant business. Eating out and take-away spend has increased significantly as people are returning to restaurants, especially during load-shedding. There’s a staggering 60% spike in eating out or ordering in during stages 5 and 6.
- People are spending more on travel than they did pre-pandemic, not because they are flying more but because domestic flight prices have increased by about 12%.
- The top international travel destinations for South Africans in 2022 were the UK, USA, UAE, Namibia and France.
- The effect of the “don’t touch” Covid era on payment systems has been sustained, with contactless payments on the rise, and digital wallet payments adoption is also expected to grow strongly. (Ironically, scientists revealed quite early on in the pandemic that the virus was spread not by touching but by breathing. The chances of contracting it from surfaces are virtually nil.)
- Data showed a drop in driving trip distances and number of trips, which tallies with the hybrid working models — employees working some days in the office and some days from home — which many major companies now have.
- Whether a consumer lives in a rural or metro area does not affect their online-versus-in-store shopping behaviour. But age is a factor, with consumers between the ages of 31 and 40 being more than 70% more likely to shop online, compared with a consumer in their 50s.
- People are twice as likely to buy clothing online than they are to buy groceries online.
Support independent journalism by subscribing to the Sunday Times. Just R20 for the first month.
Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.