Johannesburg, South Africa, 18 December 2018 – Consumers are ringing in the holiday season with a solid start to retail sales, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse™, which looks at overall retail spending trends across all payment types.

October – South Africa’s third biggest month for retail spending after December and November – saw retail sales rise 1.1 percent over the same month in 2017 when the effects of inflation are removed. Including the effects of inflation, retail sales rose 3.9 percent year-over-year, as consumer prices ticked up slightly in October amidst higher oil prices.

Significantly, retail sales climbed 2.8 percent between January and October after adjusting for inflation – a substantial improvement from the 1.4 percent pace seen for the same period in 2017.

“Retail performance in 2018 shows that South Africa’s consumer has recovered from the lows of 2016 and 2017,” says Warren Zambelli, principal Advisors division lead at Mastercard. “Since October, oil prices have fallen sharply, helping to ease price pressure in the near term, benefitting consumers as they enter into the festive season shopping period.”

Highlights from the Mastercard SpendingPulse October report include:

  • For a third straight month, Apparel remained the top performing sector of those tracked by SpendingPulse, with October sales rising 2.7 percent over last year’s level after adjusting for inflation.
  • For retailers selling pharmaceuticals, medical goods, toiletries, and cosmetics, growth in sales continue to outperform total retail with sales up 2.2 percent over October 2017 when the effects of inflation are removed.
  • Continuing the trend observed for most of 2018, General Dealer sales for October continue to decline, down three percent year-over-year after removing the effects of inflation.

Black Friday discounts and the rise of eCommerce expected to drive early holiday sales

November has been driving a larger share of annual retail spending in South Africa each year since Mastercard SpendingPulse started tracking retails sales in 2012. Last year retail sales surpassed 9.4 percent growth for the month over 2016, as Black Friday discounts and the growth of eCommerce spurred early festive season shopping.

“America’s Black Friday bargain hunting tradition has taken South Africa by storm in recent years. With many households facing tightening wallets and the rise of online retail, which enables instant price-comparison, South Africa has become a nation of savvy budgeters, making big deals and promotions especially compelling. With an extra week in November between Black Friday and Christmas, we expect this trend to continue and likely accelerate this year,” says Zambelli.

ENDS

 About Mastercard SpendingPulse

Mastercard SpendingPulse reports on national retail sales across all payments types in select markets around the world. The findings are based on aggregate sales activity in the Mastercard payments network, coupled with survey-based estimates for certain other payment forms, such as cash and cheque.

 About Mastercard

Mastercard, www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter: @MastercardMEA and @MastercardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the MEA Engagement Bureau.

Mastercard Communications Contact

Birgit Deibele

Birgit.Deibele@mastercard.com