What Did Our 2021 Summer Spending Survey Reveal?

What Did Our 2021 Summer Spending Survey Reveal?

As part of our annual Summer Spending survey conducted in November this year, 6 400 South Africans shared their plans for the festive season with us - including where they plan to be, what gifts they would like and how much they intend to spend.

Our research highlighted that South Africans are predicted to each spend an average of R6 326 over and above their usual monthly expenses during the festive season – meaning that in line with StatisticsSA’s mid-year population estimates, our national budget can expect a total injection of R252 billion.

Of those polled, 37% of respondents think they’ll spend more this festive season than they did in 2020, despite the ongoing financial impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had.

The research also showed that 41% of South Africans reported that they are better off than they were this time last year, with only 23% saying that they were in the same position financially.

How do South Africans budget for the festive season?

Of the R6 326 South Africans expect to spend this festive season, the majority of their expenses – at 31% - will be taken up by food and drink, followed by gifts, which will account for a budgeted R1 188 per person.

To fund their extra expenses, the majority of South Africans (at 43% of all respondents) expect to rely on their end-of-year bonuses, while others plan to use their savings (37%) or rely on a stokvel (27%). A quarter of all respondents stated that they planned to take out a short-term loan.

Where are travelers heading to?

While South Africans may expect difficult travel conditions as a result of the discovery of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, the majority of respondents – at 48% - plan to remain at home during the festive season.

Locally, KwaZulu-Natal was the most popular tourist destination for the third year running, followed by the Western Cape and Eastern Cape. Most people (61%) will be travelling to visit family or friends, with some visiting places because of their natural beauty (12%).

Of those traveling, many (at 59%) will travel by car – and only 2% of all respondents planned to travel overseas during this period.

Festive gifting: Who can expect a present?

The majority of South Africans plan on buying gifts this festive season. 77% plan on spoiling their family – and, interestingly, 21% also plan on buying themselves a gift this Christmas. At the top of 46% of people’s Christmas lists are money and gift vouchers (19%).

21% of respondents plan to do all their shopping online – up from 13% in 2019, and nearly double the 11% of respondents who indicated similarly in 2018.

South Africans’ favorite way to celebrate the festive season is by getting together with loved ones (71%), with 29% getting together to exchange gifts. With many people staying at home this summer, it stands to reason that the most popular way for respondents (46%) to celebrate is by having a braai.

South Africans are more optimistic for 2022 

While this year has been a somewhat better one for many people, South Africans remain cautious - respondents gave 2021 a rating of 5 out of 10, compared to last year’s score of 3, and 61% of people say they are optimistic or excited for 2022.

What can I do to prepare for the 2021 festive season?

The festive season can be a financially stressful time. To set yourself and your family up for success and for a great celebration, consider managing your Christmas festivities on a budget. Our helpful guide can assist you in using discounts and store sales to purchase affordable gifts or hosting a potluck Christmas.

As 2022 approaches, a great idea is to use our Financial Readiness Pack to get a head start and to prepare for the start of the new year. Within, you’ll find a budgeting tool, resources to help you reduce your debt, and a guide to build your own emergency fund.

Download our full infographic

To explore our full findings from our 2021 Festive Spending Survey, you can download our easy-to-follow infographic which contains useful information and exciting insights!



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