New spending habits of South Africa's middle-class

The fight for the share of wallet of South Africa's affluent consumer is hotting up.

Installing a solar solution at home is not cheap.

Even the most basic one (should you buy it outright) for an average-sized home will cost around R170 000.

Couple this huge capital outlay with the cost of a mortgage bond that keeps on going up, and South Africa's middle-class are not left with a lot at the end of the month to buy Woolies Double Cream Yoghurt.

This insight is according to research from the Bureau of Economic Research at the University of Stellenbosch and FNB:

One of the things at play here, FNB notes, is that a growing number of high-income households are now directing their expenditure to solar panels and backup power systems, leaving them with less capital for discretionary spending.

Inflation globally is ensuring that things everywhere are tight, but in South Africa we're not just sitting with higher energy prices - we're in a situation where we're literally needing to build our own domestic power-generation units which is severely affecting local consumer confidence.

The good news perhaps is that once the initial outlay of solar has been recouped over the next year or so - South Africa's more affluent consumers will presumably be living off-grid and saving some disposable income thanks to having to pay less to Eskom for power.

So economically things are not looking good in the near future (12 months) for consumer spending in the local market, but as signs of a stabilisation of interest rate increases emerge - there looks like some light at the end of the tunnel in the next 18 months or so.

If you are competing for a share of the wallet of South Africa's affluent consumer - you would be well-advised to relook at your competitive strategy and assess its affectiveness in light of this.


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