There’s no doubt that 2018 was a tough year for South African consumers. Increasing food and transport prices left us with less money in our pockets for all the others aspects of our lives. Many consumers were forced to take out additional debts, which made their budgets even tighter going into the new year.
Consumers Spent The Most Money At Grocery Stores, Service Stations And Restaurants.
BankservAfrica has published its latest consumer spending report for December 2008, which showed some surprising statistics. According to the data, the value of consumer transactions in December 2018 grew by 15%. These increased from R51 billion in December 2017 to R59 billion in December 2018, according to BusinessTech. Similar to 2017, consumer spending was highest at grocery stores, service stations, restaurants and food stores.
The report noted that:
There were 106 million transactions, a 12% growth on the 95 million volume of transactions in 2017
The highest spending activity took place in the build-up to Christmas on 21 and 24 December where there were 4.6 million transactions. The other significant shopping day occurred over the long weekend on 14 December with 4.4 million transactions.
The Transaction Data Reflects That Consumers Are Under Financial Pressure
Martin Grunewald, executive head of Payments Business at BankservAfrica said that:
While there was a jump in December spend activity between 2018 and 2017, it is interesting to note that this was largely for affordable and essential household items.
This reflects the spending pressure that consumers have found themselves in the weakened economy.
It is a bit worrying to learn that the year-on-year increase in spending by consumers went towards basic living expenses. It’s also important to mention that a lot of this spending would’ve been in the form of personal loans and credit cards. Using debt for basic living expenses is often the first sign of over-indebtedness.
Here’s What To Do If Debt Is Taking Over
If you find yourself using more and more debt each month just to get by, consider calling a debt counsellor. A debt counsellor will assess your financial assessment by looking at your credit report, budget and personal situation.
Products such as debt consolidation or debt counselling can assist consumers by reducing monthly debt repayments and interest rates. This can reduce stress and allow consumers to follow an affordable repayment plan. They will also improve your credit score and help you become debt free.