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Groceries will take the biggest slice of festive season budgets. Picture: ALESHA NAIDOO
Groceries will take the biggest slice of festive season budgets. Picture: ALESHA NAIDOO

Fewer South Africans will be travelling this festive season than before, and even budgets for food and beverages over the holiday period will probably be trimmed as hard-pressed consumers battle the country’s high cost of living.

That’s according to 12,000 people questioned by short-term lender Wonga, which has published its sixth annual Summer Spending Survey.

Consumers are forecast to spend R5,707 on average over the festive period, down 4% from last year and R619 less than in 2021.

Food and beverages will account for more than 33% of festive season spend, with an average spend of R1,907 per person compared with R2,235 in 2022.

“This is a clear indication of the growing cost-of-living crisis, with households needing to spread their budgets to pay for essentials and cover debt,” the report states.

Gifts will account for just 16% of the festive budget. Of that, money (43%), shopping vouchers — including for groceries — and clothing (12%) are the most popular.

People are planning to spend on family (74%), themselves (21%), friends (15%), a Secret Santa gift (5%) and charities (3%), while 17% of respondents said they don’t intend to buy gifts.

Only 21% of the respondents will be travelling over the festive period, the lowest proportion since the first survey in 2018.

A braai at home celebrating with family and friends is the most popular way South Africans will be celebrating the festive period

Travel abroad is affected by the ran's weakness relative to other currencies, with less than 2% of respondents indicating they plan to travel outside the country this year. That’s down from 5% in 2019 and 4% in 2021.

Locally, Gauteng is the most popular destination for the second year running, with 27% respondents travelling to or within the province; 18% will spend their holidays in the Western Cape and 16% in KwaZulu-Natal.

A braai at home celebrating with family and friends is the most popular way South Africans will be celebrating the festive period. Only 16% will be eating out at restaurants and cafes.

Yet there is less reliance on savings this year to spend over the festive season. Only 37% of people will use savings to see themselves through the holidays (40% in 2022). Still, the growing reliance on credit cards and loans to fund festive expenses indicates the impact of inflation on consumers’ pockets, according to the report.

TimesLIVE


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