Covid-19 pandemic drives shift in consumer priorities - survey
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Johannesburg – Consumer behaviour and priorities have changed following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent survey conducted by Deloitte South Africa.
It found an increasing number would now rather spend their money on recreational activities and wellbeing, as well as save money for the future.
Rodger George, consumer industry leader for Deloitte Africa, said while this was a global trend, it was also true for South African consumers.
“Among consumers globally, there is a trend towards a greater focus on introspection, wellbeing and purpose. Generally, consumers are valuing time more than ever, and saving for the future with an aim to balance experiences and material possessions,” said George.
“The survey found that safety perceptions, measured by the number of day-to-day activities perceived as safe, correlate with spending versus saving priorities. Growth in safety perceptions have stabilised since June, and South Africa falls within the global average of this metric. Still, fewer South Africans feel they are spending more than the previous period compared to the other markets surveyed, with just 13% feeling they are spending more.”
The Sunday Tribune spoke to locals to find out if their spending habits have shifted or had been affected by the pandemic.
Phiwokuhle Ngcobo attested to Deloitte’s findings. She has opted to spend money on experiences, such as booking a guest house in Durban for a festive holiday with her family.
“I have made booking arrangements with a guest house for the festive season. I plan to go out and have fun with friends and relatives so we can de-stress. We have been through a lot,’ said Ngcobo.
“Although we plan to have a good time, spending money wisely is a priority because of the ever-increasing prices.”
Ngcobo said she was no longer saving as much as she did in the past because she now had to budget for medical supplements to ensure her immune system stays strong.
“Because everything is very expensive now and we have to buy boosters every now and then to protect us from the flu, all these products are expensive.”
Another consumer, Fisokuhle Zungu, said that given the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic, she would rather spend her money on job applications since she was currently unemployed.
“Whenever I get money, I apply for jobs. However, given that I had money, I think I would opt for buying sustainable products, but as of now, I am hopeless about life ever getting back to normal,” said Zungu.
Deloitte’s latest State of the Consumer Tracker measured consumer sentiment across 23 countries for October 2021.