More South Africans are turning to side-hustles to boost income – this is what they’re doing

 ·22 Apr 2023

Side hustles are booming in South Africa, according to an African Bank Consumer Research Report on the low- and middle-income market.

The report, done in conjunction with In On Africa and The Choice Architects, looked at the low- and middle-income market and surveyed 3,000 respondents.

The report said that roughly one-quarter of respondents in the Youth (27%) and Adults (24%) segments earn income through a side hustle/side job.

In addition, 27% of male respondents in the Seniors segment said that they earn an income through a side hustle, with 11% of female respondents in the Seniors segment also earning income via a side hustle.

Side hustling is one of the most common strategies South Africans use to help increase their income and change their financial situation.

Below is the source of income per gender across the report’s three primary segments – Youth, Adults and Seniors  (click to enlarge):

The report also noted that Entry level Adults (29%) and Student Youth (28%) are far more likely to earn an income from a side hustle than Middle Adults (16%).

Source of income from a side hustle across subsegments :

  • Student Youth – 28%
  • General Youth – 27%
  • Entry level Adults – 29%
  • Low Income Adults – 21%
  • Low middle adults – 18%
  • Middle Adults – 16%

The report said that the 16%-29% of respondents working a side hustle is significant and points to the need for South Africans to generate additional income outside of their regular jobs.

Although the report is mainly quantitative, South Africans may be looking to side hustles due to the country’s dire economic outlook.

A major reason for the grim outlook is the heightened stages of load shedding, with respondents in the survey saying that they would rather buy a generator than a car.

The main way that all Adults (35%) and Youth (31%) earned income via a side hustle was by ‘buying and reselling goods.’

Whereas the main way Seniors (29%) earned income through a side hustle was ‘acquire and rent’ and ‘other’, with the latter including doing surveys, freelance work, house-sitting and tutoring.

What the three segments do for their side hustles can be seen in the image below (click to enlarge):

In line with these findings, the report said that side hustling is a prominent component of the weekly routine for many South Africans.

In the General Youth subsegment, working on a side hustle is in the top-4 activities in a person’s weekly routine.

It is also in the top-7 for all other subsegments, except for Middle Adults, where it comes in 11th place.

Having more time to work on a side hustle was also a prominent answer in the open-ended questions about what respondents would like to change about how they spend their time.

For example, 33% to 38% of Youth and Adult respondents said that they are starting a new side hustle to increase their income.


Read: The most popular retailers in South Africa: Woolworths vs Shoprite vs Pick n Pay

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