Research has revealed that South Africans will each incur an average of R6 585 in festive expenses this summer, over and above their usual budgeted expenses. Based on Statistics SA’s mid-year population size estimates, working aged South Africans are set to pump R254 billion into the economy, an increase of 24% from last year.
As part of our Festive Spending Survey, almost 6 000 South Africans shared what they plan on doing these holidays, who they plan on doing it with and how much they intend to spend.
“Our research revealed that 60% 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,” explains James Williams, Head of Marketing at Wonga.
This is our second annual Festive Spending Survey and, when compared to last year’s findings, reveals that South Africans intend on spending an average of R880 more than they did last year. This includes costs such as gifts, holidays, entertainment, transport, food and drink.
The research revealed that 76% of South Africans spend more than usual over the festive season, with food and drink taking up 37% of most budgets at an average cost of R2 430 per person. This is followed by gifts which account for approximately 20% of festive budgets, with South Africans forking out over R1 200 to spoil their loved ones.
In total, respondents expect to spend an average of R6 585 each, which is almost half (46%) 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’.
Half of the respondents indicated that they dislike the pressure to spend money over the festive season. To cope with the extra expense, the majority (45%) plan to draw from their end-of year-bonuses, or dip into their savings (42%) or stokvels (25%). Only a small portion plan on either taking out a loan (17%) or spending money on their credit cards (11%) to get them through the holidays.
Only one in three South Africans have festive season travel planned this year, a 5% drop from 2018, with most people (33%) citing the cost of travel as their main reason for staying home followed by work commitments (27%).
Of those leaving home for the holidays, Durban emerged as the most popular holiday destination for the second year running, followed by Cape Town. Most people (58%) will be travelling to visit family or friends, with only a small portion visiting places because they offer peace and quiet (17%) or natural beauty (12%). The bad news for those hoping to avoid traffic chaos this year is that the vast majority (60%) plan on travelling by car.
Nine in ten South Africans plan on buying gifts this festive season and, while the majority (83%) plan on spoiling their family, 22% also plan on buying themselves a gift this Christmas. At the top of most people’s Christmas lists, money (34%) and vouchers (26%) emerged as the firm favourites again this year.
Although the popularity of traditional stores has declined by 6% since 2018, 75% of shoppers still prefer to visit brick and mortar stores in search of gifts, with only 13% planning to do their shopping online.
78% of South Africans’ favourite way to celebrate the festive season is by spending time with loved ones. Having a braai emerged as the most loved festive tradition for 47% of respondents, making it 10% more popular than a traditional Christmas roast.
Only 57% of South Africans have work parties or functions planned to mark the end of the year and the vast majority look forward to celebrating with their colleagues. However, for 18% this excitement is replaced with indifference either because they find their year-end functions boring (35%), don’t enjoy socialising with their work mates (20%) or resent having to spend money on gifts, clothing or food for the occasion (24%).
“It’s clear that most South Africans have a bumper festive season planned and, while it’s great to see so much holiday cheer, people should be careful not to get swept away in the excitement and wind up spending more than they can afford. Remember, the best gift that you can give to yourself and your loved ones is starting the new year on a strong financial footing,” concludes Williams.
For more financial information and advice on how to become #MoneySmart visit the Wonga Money Academy.
Download the full infographic here.