A shopper looks for items at Makro Store Riversands of South African retailer Massmart in Midrand
JOHANNESBURG - South African consumers are feeling slightly more positive, according to the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for the second quarter.

It showed a 3-point increase to 93, presenting a marginally more positive quarter-on-quarter picture of consumer sentiment.

This month, data from Statistics South Africa showed a higher-than-expected gross domestic product of 3.1percent for the second quarter, while annual growth also exceeded expectations, coming in at 0.9percent.

Kerith Botha, the Nielsen managing director of the connect business in South Africa, said consumers were slightly more optimistic as headline inflation seemed to be stabilising.

The print showed that 19percent of South Africans’ monthly budget went towards food and beverages at home, 17percent to housing and 10percent to education.

South Africans allocated the same amount of their budget - 9percent - to communication services such as cellphones, landlines, internet, cable TV as they do to transport.

“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 an increase in their overall confidence levels,” Botha said.

“In addition, food price increases at major supermarkets have remained between 3percent and 6percent, below current consumer price inflation figures for South Africa.”

The South African Reserve Bank on Thursday revised its inflation forecast lower for 2019 to 4.2percent from 4.4percent previously, but kept 2020’s forecast unchanged at 5.1percent.

Neilsen said at least 80percent of South Africans said they have spare cash.

The highest number of consumers - 47percent put their disposable income into savings, followed by 34percent paying off debts, credit cards and loans.

Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they would spend it on new clothes, while 23percent said they would spend their spare cash on out- of-home entertainment.

Looking to the future, Nielsen said there had been a 1-point increase in the number of South Africans who viewed their job prospects as excellent or good to 33percent.

Those who said the state of their personal finances over the next 12 months would be “excellent or good” increased by three points to 66percent.

BUSINESS REPORT