Johannesburg - South African consumers are approaching the holiday season with caution and on the lookout for bargains, according to a survey conducted by advisory firm Deloitte.
Deloitte's annual Year-end Holiday Survey measures trends in South Africa and 18 European countries.
"South Africans are approaching the 2011 holiday season with caution. Our research has shown that 62% of local shoppers believe that the South African economy is in recession," said Deloitte SA's consumer business leader Rodger George.
Sixty-nine percent of respondents aimed to buy less expensive presents this year, while 78% said they would buy goods on sale.
The survey considered the views of 18 354 respondents during September 2011.
Two-thirds of consumers said they would look at buying own-branded products in-store rather than typical brands.
"Although this approach is prevalent among lower and middle class shoppers, the trend is now extending strongly across higher income earners," Deloitte consumer practice leader Michael van Wyk said.
Van Wyk said 62% of higher income earners were looking for retailer-branded or discount goods.
"South African consumers are undoubtedly stressed and looking for options that will allow them to spend less, whilst still satisfying all their usual gift obligations," he said.
The survey found that:
- 90% of surveyed shoppers will be seeking purchases that are useful,
- 84% will be buying less"impulsive" gifts,
- 78% will be purchasing goods on sale,
- 43% of South Africans say they will spending less on holidays,
- 40% say they will be spending less on entertainment,
- 63% say they will be spending more on essentials such as groceries, and
- 38% will be using loyalty points earned during the year to make purchases if available.
Sixty percent of respondents identified cash and gift vouchers as the most desirable gifts, but only 32% of adults would give these to a partner.
Deloitte said 69% of South African consumers expect their spending power to stay the same or increase during 2012.
European shoppers expect austerity measures and a higher tax burden to affect their budgets during 2012, leaving spending expectations for the holiday season similar to last year. Only 57% of European shoppers, compared to 69% in South Africa, were intending to spend less on expensive presents.