News Africa13 Jul 2020

South Africa:6 in 10 consumers fear being unable to meet financial obligations

13 Jul 2020

Almost six in 10 South African consumers were worried about meeting their financial obligations in May, according to a survey by Boston Consulting Group's (BCG) Centre for Customer Insight.

Of those, more than two-thirds feared not being able to pay their bond or rent. The inability to pay utilities, support to extended family, and school fees were also frequently cited, and one in five people were worried about being able to make payments on short-term debt, according to Independent Online quoting from the report.

Most South African consumers have sharply cut expenses. Four of every five (79%) surveyed said they had either delayed or reduced spending and that percentage was consistent across income levels. The one category where most consumers planned to spend the same or more was vitamins, herbs and supplements.

BCG Centre for Customer Insight carried out surveys of consumers at the end of April and May, which confirm the devastating impact  the COVID-19 pandemic is having on income.

“The second wave of our consumer sentiment survey, conducted at the end of May, found that financial insecurity and worries about continuing to be able to make a living had become the major factor in consumer behaviour, and decisions about spending,” said BCG Johannesburg managing director and partner Stefano Niavas.

The earlier April survey showed consumers were just beginning to feel the financial effects of the pandemic, and fears of infection and death were as strong as fears about their economic well-being.

The majority – 84% – continued to believe the world was in serious danger, and 72% believed the worst impacts were yet to come. Amidst so much uncertainty, changes were being made in daily habits to reduce risks. More than four out of five respondents (82%) reported using hand sanitiser more, and wearing face masks.

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