Though we are still reeling from the April credit rating downgrade announcements by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch, we still don’t know what the long-term economic effects are going to be, and, more importantly, to what extent they will affect ordinary South Africans. A quick search has revealed that it can take some countries up to seven years before any significant changes to their status can be seen. Though consumers will not stop spending, their spending will become more conservative and discerning. SA has one of the highest ratios of debt relative to income in the world. So much debt, coupled with higher inflation rates, will force people to spend more money on essentials such as food, transport and interest payments, which will no doubt eat into their very limited disposable income. Luxury items or services may become a thing of the past for many. Savvy brands are going to have to raise the bar in terms of how they operate. There is a strong likelihood that they will have to reju...

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