Data analytics company Nielsen has released a new report focusing on South African shopping patterns.
The report is based on the purchasing behaviour within 4,000 representative households across the country on a quarterly basis – finding that South African households have been hard-hit by recent price increases.
“It’s no secret that South African consumers are experiencing a severe wallet squeeze thanks to a raft of rising costs including spiralling petrol and electricity prices, the implementation of sugar tax and a VAT increase to 15%,” said Nielsen client service director Kelly Arnold.
“The effect that this has had on consumer behaviour is profound and we’re now clearly seeing shoppers jumping out of some categories and consolidating their spend,” she said.
As the household basket has become more expensive, Nielsen said that it has also seen consumers limiting the number of trips to stores to 60 trips a year on average, and the top-up shopping that used to happen two or three times a week has dropped to once every two weeks – with spend per trip now averaging at R210.
“Interestingly, the repertoire or number of stores that consumers visit has increased to 4.9 retailers a year,” said Arnold. “This is because extremely price-conscious consumers seek out deals, and are more prepared to shop around.”
What’s in and out?
Drilling down to category performance, Arnold said that consumers now make purchases in around 68 categories per year.
“We have seen a move towards consumers spending more on dry groceries and perishables with staples remaining stable,” she said.
“The highest amount of spend is happening in frozen chicken and ready to eat cereals, sugar and UHT milk (a long-term trend) and canned meat.”
The latter might be because of the listeriosis crisis earlier this year, Arnold said, which compelled many consumers to switch from cold meats, which saw a big drop.
Looking at the specific categories that have experienced the biggest declines household/cleaning goods which are no longer seen as a necessity have dropped by 6%, and beverages by 6% – with carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) experiencing particularly negative performance.
“In this regard, contributing factors may well be the shift in volumes from 500ml to 450 ml size bottle within some of the top brands as well as an influx of other brands carving out a market share for themselves and now spreading their national footprint,” said Arnold.