Global shipping and relocation experts Seven Seas Worldwide has launched its first-ever Global Movement Report for 2021 which has revealed motivations behind relocation for South Africans based on a comprehensive global survey.
Each year global movement sees millions of people relocating across the globe. However, over the last year, it has become impossible to ignore the impact the pandemic has played across the sector.
Half of South African respondents stated that pandemic-related restrictions or concerns are a direct cause of their relocations being cancelled.
However, the report has also revealed that despite cancellations occurring, almost 2 in 5 of respondents who had their relocation plans adjusted or postponed intend to go ahead with their move.
39% of respondents stated that the pandemic has made them more likely to consider relocating internationally after travel and movement resumes, suggesting that we can expect to see a release of the pent-up demand that has been building throughout the pandemic.
Similar trends were observed in other markets surveyed, this could result in a rise in global movements around the world, leading to a ripple effect that could hike up prices for goods, property and potentially lead to an even more competitive job market.
Long term moves on the horizon
In light of these findings, just over a third (38%) of respondents indicated that they are looking to embark on a move for a long-term stay (3 to 5 years), in comparison to 1 in 10 (8%) who opted for a shorter-term stay (less than a year).
A quarter (25%) of South Africans are looking for permanent relocation with no further relocations for the foreseeable future, while a fifth (19%) are looking for medium-term relocation (1 to 2 years).
The global quest for a home continues
Globally, a fifth (20%) of South African expatriates said their most recent relocation was to move from a country that was not their home country to another, compared to 42% who were returning home and 39% moving away from their home country.
For expatriates, the definition of ‘home’ is always evolving – with constraints from the pandemic adding a new layer of complexity.
The report reveals the growing importance of having a ‘home base’ to return to when comparing data on recent moves versus those five years ago or longer. A greater number of respondents reported fewer recent moves - indicating reduced global mobility.
Only around a sixth (15%) of respondents have relocated internationally in the last 12 months, versus a third (34%) who relocated more than five years ago.
Exploring the Why and the Where of Global Movement
As global mobility is an indicator of economic health, the report also sheds light on broader consumer trends. Starting a new life abroad represents a greater level of commitment than purchasing a stock, or goods and services – communicating a high level of confidence in future prospects.
In addition to big-picture statistics, the report probes the rationale behind relocation decisions, to get a clearer picture of the direction the world is heading, and to explore the future of relocation.
For South Africans contemplating a move abroad, the top main factors for consideration were:
- Economic or job reasons (53%);
- Better lifestyle (46%);
- Education or training (26%);
- To experience new culture (17%);
- A partner, love or to be with family (14%).
Survey respondents were also asked “When thinking about or planning for relocating internationally, which country would you plan to move to, if you had the chance?” – for which the top choices were:
- The UK;
- The US;
Between June 4 and June 16, 2021, the group surveyed 5,026 consumers who have a passport, ensuring that at least 25% of our sample of respondents were considering or would like to move abroad, while at least 10% considered themselves expatriates.
From the total sample, two in five consumers said they have relocated internationally before, while more than 1 in 6 (17%) said they have relocated internationally more than once.