In a landmark collaborative initiative, Visa and Discovery Bank today announced their Spendtrend23 report, which is aimed at identifying and understanding shifts in consumer spending behaviour during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Africans’ spending via credit card has bounced back, and is more than 20% higher than pre-pandemic levels.
Spend on categories such as groceries, travel and eating out are the key drivers for the increase.
High food inflation is driving higher grocery spend, which is particularly impacting the mass market client group – who are spending almost 50% more now, than they did in 2019 on their groceries. Mass market clients will continue to feel the brunt of food inflation, and it is expected that a tightening budget will prompt lower-income earners to redirect their spend to where they find value, particularly in essential food items.
People are spending more on travel than they did pre-pandemic, and this is concentrated on domestic travel. While travel volumes are lower, increased spend can be attributed to significantly higher flight prices as a result of aviation fuel rising by 80% and fewer airlines operating.
Eating out and takeout spend has increased significantly as people are returning to restaurants. Loadshedding is an additional factor leading to people eating out – which they do 60% more during loadshedding levels 5 and 6.
The effect of Covid on payment systems has been sustained with contactless payments on the rise, and digital wallet payments adoption is also expected to grow strongly.
Hylton Kallner, CEO of Discovery Bank said: “As a bank built on the use of big data and digital technology, we believe it’s important to share our unique insights on spending data that reflects the true performance of our economy. While it’s easy to be swayed by a negative narrative about financial trends and the implications for our country’s prospects, when we look at the data, we can see that our economy is often more resilient than we give it credit for. We’re proud to partner with Visa to deliver powerful insights to the industry and business leaders across the spectrum.”
Lineshree Moodley, Country Head for Visa South Africa said: “Visa is constantly working to remove barriers – and connect more people – to the digital economy and data can enlighten us on the path to get there. The SpendTrend23 report is testament to our longstanding partnership with Discovery Bank. We are proud to be able to collaborate to bring relevant insights that we hope will drive meaningful conversation and action within our industry.”
Other key findings include:
How much people spend:
Across Discovery Bank and South Africa, people are spending more on groceries, travel and eating out – with the largest spend category being groceries.
South Africans are now spending on average 14% more on leisure travel and 24% more on business travel per trip, with spend on flights in particular making up the majority of travel costs in 2022.
The proportion of travel spend on flight tickets has increased for the average South African by 12% for domestic travel and 2% for international travel.
Discovery Bank clients have a different experience, the proportion of travel spend on flights decreased by 14% for domestic flights. This can be attributed to the Vitality Travel platform, where Discovery Bank clients get enhanced flight discounts across all local airlines. Given that Discovery Bank clients’ spend recovered at almost double the rate of the average South African, suggests that these savings are channelled into Discovery Bank clients being able to travel more.
The top international travel destinations for South Africans in 2022 were the UK, USA, UAE, Namibia and France.
Data showed a drop in driving trip distances and number of trips, which is consistent with the hybrid working models adopted by major companies.
How people spend:
Consumers who were compelled to use online shopping and contactless payment methods during the pandemic are continuing to do so now:
Interestingly, geography does not affect whether a consumer is inclined to spend online or in-store, with equal affinity between consumers in metropolitan and in rural areas. However, age is a factor, with consumers between the ages of 31 to 40 more than 70% more likely to shop online when compared to a consumer in their fifties.
People are twice as likely to buy clothing online than they are to buy groceries online.
“We continuously analyse spending behaviour to understand how we can enhance our clients’ lives and improve our products. Identifying trends such as these outlined in the report enables the industry as a whole to provide consumers with seamless, convenient ways to interact in a digital economy. It is our aim, as a Bank built on digital technology, to share insights that reflect the behaviour of consumers to create better experiences and bolster the performance of our economy,” concluded Kallner.
Download a copy of the report here.