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Small uptick in South African Consumer Confidence

  • Three point increase in consumer confidence
  • The economy is South Africans' number one concern

  • South Africa’s latest Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for the second quarter of 2019 shows a three point increase to 93, presenting a marginally more positive quarter on quarter picture for consumer sentiment in South Africa.

    Nielsen South Africa Connect MD Kerith Botha says; “Despite experiencing tight financial conditions due to factors such as rising fuel and utility prices and lower personal income in real terms, South African consumers are feeling slightly more positive which has translated into the increase in their overall confidence levels.

    “This is also echoed by recent Stats SA data which showed that the economy grew beyond expectations, by 3.1% in the second quarter of 2019. In addition, food price increases at major supermarkets have remained between 3% and 6%, below current consumer price inflation figures for South Africa.”

    The battle of the budget

    Against this backdrop, 19% of South Africans’ monthly budget allocation currently goes towards food and beverages at home, 17% to housing (rent, mortgage and utilities etc) and 10% on education. Interestingly, South Africans allocate the same amount of their budget (9%) to communication services like mobile phone landline, internet, cable tv etc and the daily grind of routine transport.

    In terms of whether South Africans have any spare cash, 80% say yes. The highest number of consumers 47% (up from 45% in the previous quarter) put their disposable income into savings, followed by 34% paying off debts, credit cards and loans. Twenty seven percent of respondents said they would spend it on new clothes, while 23% said they would spend their spare cash on out of home entertainment, which may well be due to the need for a respite from the day to day realities of their lives.

    Altered spending

    Looking at how South Africans have adapted to the current wallet squeeze scenario, 84% of South Africans say they have changed their spending to save on household expenses. The top action they have taken to save on money is cutting down on takeaway meals (61%) followed by spending less on new clothes (56%) and switching to cheaper grocery brands (49%, although this is a seven point improvement over the 56% it was in the previous quarter).

    In terms of their outlook, 74% South Africans think the country is currently in a recession, versus 78% in the previous quarter. When it comes to their top concerns, 30% of South Africans cite the economy as their top concern, followed by job security at 26%, crime at 21% and increasing fuel prices also at 21%.

    Where to from here?

    Looking to the future, there has been a one point increase in the number of South Africans who view their job prospects as excellent or good to 33%, with those who say the state of their personal finances over the next 12 months will be excellent or good, having increased by three points to 66%. There has also been a positive uptake when it comes to spending intentions, with a two point increase to 31% South African consumers who feel now is a good or excellent time to purchase what they need or want.

    Commenting on this unfolding scenario Botha comments; “South African consumer sentiment is stable at present off the back of positive movement during the last three quarters. It will be interesting to see how consumer confidence and spending intentions are impacted by macro-economic factors and consumers’ personal outlook in the months to come.”


    The Conference Board® Global Consumer Confidence Survey is conducted in collaboration with Nielsen. It was conducted in May 2019 and polled more than 32,000 online consumers in 64 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East/Africa and North America. The sample includes internet users who agreed to participate in this survey and has quotas based on age and gender for each country. It is weighted to be representative of internet consumers by country. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. However, a probability sample of equivalent size would have a margin of error of ±0.6% at the global level. This survey is based only on the behaviour of respondents with online access. Internet penetration rates vary by country. The Conference Board uses a minimum reporting standard of 60% internet penetration or an online population of 10 million for survey inclusion. The Global Consumer Confidence Survey was established in 2005.


    The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world's leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. Winner of the Consensus Economics 2016 Forecast Accuracy Award (U.S.), The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States.


    Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global measurement and data analytics company that provides the most complete and trusted view available of consumers and markets worldwide. Our approach marries proprietary Nielsen data with other data sources to help clients around the world understand what’s happening now, what’s happening next, and how to best act on this knowledge. For more than 90 years Nielsen has provided data and analytics based on scientific rigor and innovation, continually developing new ways to answer the most important questions facing the media, advertising, retail and fast-moving consumer goods industries. An S&P 500 company, Nielsen has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit

    NielsenNielsen knows people, Nielsen knows Africa. No-one offers a more complete understanding, worldwide, of what consumers watch and buy. We offer the scale to give you world view - as well as a wealth of local and regional knowledge and expertise.



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