SA shoppers cautious ahead of festive season – survey

2011-11-08 10:42

South African consumers are approaching the holiday season with caution and on the lookout for bargains, according to a survey conducted by advisory firm Deloitte.

Deloitte’s yearly Year-End Holiday Survey measures trends in South Africa and 18 European countries.

“South Africans are approaching the 2011 holiday season with caution. Our research has shown that 62% of local shoppers believe that the South African economy is in recession,” said Deloitte SA’s consumer business leader, Rodger George.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents aimed to buy less expensive presents this year; while 78% said they would buy goods on sale.

The survey considered the views of 18 354 respondents during September 2011. Two-thirds of consumers said they would look at buying own-branded products in-store rather than typical brands.

“Although this approach is prevalent among lower and middle-class shoppers, the trend is now extending strongly across higher-income earners,” said Deloitte consumer practice leader Michael van Wyk.

Van Wyk said 62% of higher-income earners were looking for retailer-branded or discount goods. “South African consumers are undoubtedly stressed and looking for options that will allow them to spend less, while still satisfying all their usual gift obligations,” he said.

The survey found that:

» 90 percent of surveyed shoppers will be seeking purchases that are useful;

» 84 percent will be buying less “impulsive” gifts;

» 78 percent will be purchasing goods on sale;

» 43 percent of South Africans say they will spending less on holidays;

» 40 percent say they will be spending less on entertainment;

» 63 percent say they will be spending more on essentials such as groceries; and

» 38 percent will be using loyalty points earned during the year to make purchases if available.

Sixty percent of respondents identified cash and gift vouchers as the most desirable gifts, but only 32% of adults would give these to a partner.

Deloitte said 69% of South African consumers expect their spending power to stay the same or increase during 2012.
European shoppers expect austerity measures and a higher tax burden to affect their budgets during 2012, leaving spending expectations for the holiday season similar to last year.

Only 57% of European shoppers, compared with 69% in South Africa, were intending to spend less on expensive presents.

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