Strong sales were reflected over the traditionally busy December shopping season as the month's public holidays helped to bring the holiday excitement and festive cheer closer.
Solly Bellingan, the head of marketing at BankservAfrica, said, “According to BankservAfrica's data, the total in-store card spend for December amounted to R112.5 billion, representing a 13% growth on the R100 billion recorded in the previous year. The total shopping volumes increased by 2% year-on-year to 145 million.”
The highest spend and volumes were shown at grocery stores and supermarkets, which almost doubled in value at R50bn with 47 million card transactions (compared to R26bn in December 2022) and volumes growing by 6% year-on-year from the 45 million in December 2022, indicating the average spend per purchase increased from R580 to R1048.
Purchases on fuel declined by 18% (R7.6bn in December 2023 compared to R9bn in December 2022) and clothing fell by 11% (R2.8bn in December 2023 compared to R3.1bn in December 2022). Spend was slightly higher this year at restaurants and fast food outlets.
The total value of cash orders processed through BankservAfrica’s Integrated Cash Management Service (ICMS)2 totalled R81bn in December 2023.
The ICMS data reflects the combined total of physical cash orders by commercial banks for their respective ATM and branch networks.
“The total value was a 3% year-on-year decline on the R84 billion recorded in December 2023. Despite the slight downturn, this figure remains high and shows the continuing demand for cash among South Africans,” Bellingan further said.
Cash orders peaked on December 1, 14 and 23 with cash values of R7.2bn, R7.1bn and R7.6bn, respectively.
“Cash orders peaked on 14 December, as banks prepared for adequate availability at branches and ATM’s ahead of the additional public holiday on 15 December. This would have also been the start to the December holiday break for many South Africans on annual leave and school holidays kicking off. The other major day was on 23 December with the cash order reaching a value of R7.6 billion, during the Christmas shopping rush,” Bellingan said.