A big shift in shopping has hit South Africa: Makro owner

With no end in sight to the rising cost of living for South African consumers, shopping and spending habits continue are shifting as cost-saving becomes increasingly imperative, says retail group Massmart.

Massmart owns a number of retailers and wholesalers in South Africa including Builders Warehouse Cambridge Food, Game, Jumbo Cash & Carry, Makro and Shield.  The group noted that the rising pressure on their wallets is pushing consumers to buy more private brand products as part of their routine shopping trips.

“Massmart has seen an increased interest around its private label products across all customer segments and will continue to invest in these areas. With approximately 46% of South Africans receiving some form of social grant, there has never been a more important time to offer cost-saving alternatives to our consumers,” said Clyde Hill, group private brand vice president at Massmart.

McKinsey’s most recent Global Consumer Sentiment Survey found that 61% of South African consumers, across income levels, are cutting back on spending, with 70% of respondents paying more attention to the price of products.

Just over a third of respondents reported substituting branded products with more affordable alternatives – such as private brands; an increase of 10 percentage points since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Traditionally, popular private brand products included staples and household cleaning supplies but research conducted from Nielsen HQ shows private label products now represent 24% of total basket value in South Africa.

Competitive pricing, coupled with a quality offering has driven the acceptability of private-brand products in many new categories, including those that have historically been dominated by national brands.

With inflation eroding consumer buying power, private brands in the food category have experienced most of the increased demand, Massmart said.

“Massmart recently conducted a pricing comparison on 16 household essential items using its private brands First Value, Great Value, Econo and M as like-for-like substitutes for popular branded products,” said Hill.

“The comparison yielded interesting results with savings as high as 20-40% on essential products including rice, maize meal, milk and toilet paper. In addition to striving to offer consumers the best possible quality at the lowest possible price, the group has also increased its focus on elements such as the packaging and marketing of its private brands.”

Read: Keep an eye on price hikes for these food items and household products in South Africa

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A big shift in shopping has hit South Africa: Makro owner