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Consumers ignore economic conditions

Dec 19 2012 16:17 Sapa/I-Net Bridge

(File, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Withdrawals from ATMs across the country between December 11 and 18 rose 6.57% year-on-year (y/y), Spark ATM Systems said on Wednesday.

Following increased retail activity over the long weekend‚ latest cash withdrawal statistics reveal that spending among local consumers has increased 6.57% y/y for the period December 11-18 2012.

This indicated consumers had not cut back this festive season despite tough economic conditions, spokesperson Evan Gilbert said in a statement.

According to the Spark Cash Index (SCI)‚ which monitors activity across more than 2 000 Spark ATMs throughout the country‚ an average withdrawal value of R484.43 for the period December 11-18 was recorded‚ compared to R454.55 for the same period in 2011.

Marc Sternberg‚ MD of Spark ATM Systems‚ said the increase in ATM cash withdrawal values ahead of the Christmas period is no surprise as consumers hurry to the shops to buy gifts and stock up on food supplies ahead of holiday trips and home entertaining.

“The festive period is known as the ‘silly season’ for a reason - consumers tend to forget financial difficulties and spend cash motivated by their need to enjoy their well-deserved break after a long year. During this time‚ consumers are often also more receptive to retailers’ in-store promotions and specials‚” said Sternberg.

He also pointed to recent findings of the 2012 Deloitte Year-End Holiday Survey which showed that cash tops the gift wish list this year for South Africans, with 41% indicating they would prefer to receive cash gifts for Christmas this year.

“This coming weekend before Christmas should prove to be incredibly busy period for the retail sector as consumers flock to the shops to purchase last-minute items.

“Due to the fact that we have already seen a year-on-year increase for the period December 1-18 2012‚ it is most likely that the highest average cash withdrawal value ever recorded by the SCI of R457.00 for the month of December 2011 will be overtaken this year‚” said Sternberg.

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