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Industry Updates

Top 5 Consumer Trends in South Africa

16 Feb 2016


Louise Hefer, Media Strategist, The MediaShop


I recently came across a study, released at the beginning of this year by Euromonitor regarding Consumer Lifestyles in South Africa. What I found interesting was that the bulk of these trends wouldn’t normally come up in everyday discussion. So, let’s have a brief look at each trend and what the resulting impact or opportunity would be.

1. Consumer Confidence is at a 14-year Low


Trend: This is probably the one consumer trend that we’re all too familiar with. A weak rand, the drought that we are experiencing, electricity and fuel prices set to rise and unemployment figures getting worse are just some of the factors that contributed towards this and will continue to do so in 2016.

Insight: Consumers are spending less and will have to make bigger trade-offs in their decision making, therefore putting our clients under even more pressure than ever before, resulting in a consistent theme for this year: “achieving more with less”.

2. Mobile Payment Methods – A Game Changer

Trend: Consumers have embraced mobile payment apps with enthusiasm. We are moving into a cashless society and people are becoming more comfortable with the idea of linking their smartphones with their ‘wallet’. What’s even more interesting is that this trend has filtered through into unusual environments i.e. churches and parking payments.

Insight: There’s a clear need that has been identified with this consumer trend, it’s all about convenience and efficiency. If you can make it easier for consumers to spend money, the likelihood of them doing so will increase.

3. Slow Growth in Ecommerce; South African Consumers Lag Behind

Trend: E-commerce penetration within South Africa is still relatively low compared to global standards. However, it’s not surprising when you take into account our lack of broadband penetration and the persistent lack of trust in online payments, to name a few. That being said the overall e-commerce movement is still on the rise in SA, and although the wave hasn’t hit us in full force, it is bound to.

Insight: Companies that are able to extend themselves further than the normal brick and mortar retail experience should consciously work on having an online store – ensuring they are ready for when the wave fully hits our shores.

4. Obesity – South Africa’s Emerging Health Crisis

Trends: Here’s a fact that will make you sit up and take note; South Africa is said to be the third fattest nation in the world, with the majority factors that influence this being poverty, unhealthy diets, cultural values and physical inactivity. As the years go by, we’re just getting fatter and unhealthier – children and adults alike.

Insights: I’m sure this will result in the government and the public adding pressure to relevant companies to promote healthier lifestyles and carry it through in their product offering (i.e sugar tax). Fast food companies including restaurants will have to step up to the plate and play their part in combating this issue.

5. Grooming is Booming

Trend: This trend is booming within the male grooming and beauty category, especially amongst black South African men - from facials, to skin-care regimes. It’s clear that there was a need among a specific segment of the population and brands that have answered the call are reaping the rewards.

Insight: Success is very much dependent on understanding the market and taking insights and translating them into a solution.
And there you have it, hopefully some conversation starters around the boardroom, the dinner table or just something to fill the awkward silence on a blind date.



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