Research revealed that 60 percent of people think they’ll spend more this festive season than they did in 2018. Photo: Reuters
JOHANNESBURG – A festive spending survey was released on Thursday by short-term lender Wonga.

It said almost 6 000 South Africans had shared what they planned on doing these holidays, who they planned on doing it with and how much they intended to spend.

“Our research revealed that 60 percent of people think they’ll spend more this festive season than they did in 2018, despite the tough economic climate. However, rather than turning to debt, the majority have either saved throughout the year or plan on using their end-of-year bonuses to manage the extra expense,” said James Williams, the head of marketing at Wonga.

The research revealed that 76 percent of South Africans spend more than usual over the festive season, with food and drink taking up 37 percent of most budgets at an average cost of R2 430 a person.

This is followed by gifts, which accounted for 20 percent of festive budgets, with South Africans forking out more than R1 200 to spoil their loved ones.

In total, respondents expected to spend an average of R6 585 each, which was almost half (46 percent) of the average South African’s take-home pay.

“This is based on Bankserv Africa’s latest index, according to which South Africans take home an average of R14 385 each, after tax. This represents a significant increase from 2018, when festive budgets made up just a third of the average ‘take home pay’,” the survey said.

Half the respondents indicated that they disliked the pressure of spending money over the festive season.

To cope with the extra expense, the majority (45 percent) planned to draw from their end-of-year bonuses, or dip into their savings (42 percent) or stokvels (25 percent).

Only a small portion planned on either taking out a loan (17 percent) or spending money on their credit cards (11 percent) to get them through the holidays.

  • Only one in three South Africans have festive season travel planned this year, a 5 percent drop from 2018, with most people (33 percent) citing the cost of travel as their main reason for staying home, followed by work commitments (27 percent).
  • Nine in 10 South Africans planned on buying gifts this festive season and, while the majority (83 percent) planned on spoiling their family, 22 percent also planned on buying themselves a gift this Christmas. At the top of most people's Christmas lists, money (34 percent) and vouchers (26 percent) emerged as the firm favourites again this year.
  • The favourite way to celebrate the festive season for 78 percent of Africans was by spending time with loved ones. Having a braai emerged as the most-loved festive tradition for 47 percent of respondents, making it 10 percent more popular than a traditional Christmas roast.
  • Only 57 percent of South Africans had work functions planned to mark the end of the year and the vast majority looked forward to celebrating with their colleagues. However, for 18 percent this excitement was replaced with indifference either because they find their year-end functions boring (35 percent), don’t enjoy socialising with their work mates (20 percent) or resent having to spend money on gifts, clothing or food for the occasion (24 percent).