It is that time of the year when malls are overcrowded with spenders and money flows freely. Where people mix in good cheer and goodwill in long queues of frustration. Many shoppers will probably be so focused on their tasks that they will not notice the seismic shift that has accompanied the revamp of their favourite mall — a consumer-driven economy has emerged, and is overwhelmingly black. This consumer class has kept the economy afloat for a decade. Black people are the biggest drivers of the retail sector, especially the black middle class, which numbers 6-million people, according to the Unilever Institute for Marketing at the University of Cape Town, up from 2-million people in 2004. They are desperate to give their children the opportunity and freedom to own trinkets that they never enjoyed. But while black consumers have been keeping SA afloat, many of the companies they support by spending their money have remained stubbornly untransformed — in the composition of their boar...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now