The value of transactions in December 2018 reached R59 billion. Photo: Leon Lestrade / African News Agency (ANA)

CAPE TOWN – Consumer spend over the traditional holiday period in December reflected a year-on-year increase, according to BankservAfrica’s data which measured the value and volume of sales in December.

The value of transactions in December 2018 reached R59 billion, a 15 percent growth on the previous year’s R51 billion. There were 106 million transactions, a 12 percent growth on the 95 million volume of transactions in 2017.  

From the data it appears that December 1 was the highest spending day, however, the spike in volumes could also be as a result of SASSA grant pay-outs. 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.

As seen in 2017, consumer spending in December 2018 was the highest at grocery stores, service stations, restaurants and food stores.

“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,” says Martin Grunewald, Executive Head: Payments Business at BankservAfrica.