Industry Updates

Consumers ignore economic conditions and head to ATMs this Festive Season

20 Dec 2012

Following increased retail activity over the long weekend, latest cash withdrawal statistics released by Spark ATM Systems, South Africa’s premier independent ATM deployer, reveal that spending among local consumers has increased 6.57% year-on-year for the period 11-18 December 2012, indicating that consumers have not cut back this festive season, despite tough economic conditions.
According to the Spark Cash Index (SCI)*, which monitors activity across more than 2 000 Spark ATMs throughout the country, an average withdrawal value of R484.43 for the period 11-18 December 2012 was recorded, compared to R454.55 for the same period in 2011.
Marc Sternberg, Managing Director of Spark ATM Systems, says the increase in ATM cash withdrawal values ahead of the Christmas period is no surprise as consumers hurry to the shops to buy gifts and stock up on food supplies ahead of holiday trips and home entertaining.
“The festive period is known as the ‘silly season’ for a reason - consumers tend to forget financial difficulties and spend cash motivated by their need to enjoy their well-deserved break after a long year. During this time, consumers are often also more receptive to retailers’ in-store promotions and specials,” says Sternberg.
He also points to recent findings of the 2012 Deloitte Year-End Holiday Survey which revealed that cash tops the gift wish list this year for South Africans with 41% indicating they would prefer to receive cash gifts for Christmas this year.
“This coming weekend before Christmas should prove to be incredibly busy period for the retail sector as consumers flock to the shops to purchase last minute items.
“Due to the fact that we have already seen a year-on-year increase for the period 1-18 December 2012, it is most likely that the highest average cash withdrawal value ever recorded by the SCI of R457.00 for the month of December 2011 will be overtaken this year,” says Sternberg.
*About the Spark Cash Index (SCI):

The amount of cash withdrawn at ATMs is a real-time indicator of cash availability and consumer spending in the economy. From Spark ATM Systems’ records the company has noticed that over time the average amount of cash withdrawn at its network of ATMs corresponds with general economic conditions in South Africa. The SCI also points to consumer trends such as the variations in cash withdrawn based on prevailing economic conditions, particularly variations in the prime interest rate and seasonal peaks and dips.
Explanatory Notes:
The value for the SCI is obtained using the following formula: Cash dispensed for the month divided by the number of cash withdrawals for the month across a selection of our ATM network. The sample size is very large and spans urban and rural areas across all nine provinces of South Africa, therefore representing a very good cross section of South African consumers. The data presented is raw data and has not been adjusted for seasonality or for the effects of inflation.
About Spark ATM Systems:
Spark ATM Systems is the premier independent ATM deployer in South Africa importing, installing and maintaining world-leading Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) for the South African convenience ATM market.
Convenience ATMs have taken the world and South Africa by storm and today are found in every conceivable type of retail, hospitality, leisure and convenience location for one simple reason - consumers expect them wherever they need cash and merchants recognise their many benefits.
Established in 2005, Spark ATM Systems has grown into a national organisation with sales and technical capabilities across South Africa. From our headquarters in Cape Town, our Head Office team coordinates the sales, installation, maintenance, processing, settlement, reconciliation, monitoring, reporting, customer relationship and contact centre requirements for our ever-growing national network of ATMs. We boast a national list of independent and corporate customers across all major retail, convenience, wholesale, leisure and hospitality operators. Visit for more information.
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Tel: 021 439 8008