Game | Can South Africans Beat the Price in Tough Economic Times?

A survey conducted by mass retailer Game has found that despite increasing levels of digitalisation around consumer behaviour in the last year, South African bargain hunters are using leaflets more than Google search (55%-45%) to compare prices. Additionally, 86% of them prioritise bargain hunting more so now than they did a year ago, no matter how much they earn or how big their household.

The survey, which sampled over 780 South African consumers, found that more than half of respondents were shopping less now than they did a year ago, with 68% saying they only visit between 3 and 6 stores per month. 50% of respondents felt they were savvier with their money than they were a year ago and said they were hunting for better deals.

“The South African consumer has always been a savvy shopper, but in the last year we have seen the appetite for bargain hunting and unbeatable deals increase tremendously across all categories. Something our customers are familiar with. While this has been part of our culture since our inception, it highlights the need for programmes like our Price Beat Promise which shoppers find appealing,” explains Katherine Madley, Vice President of Marketing, Game.

75% of respondents agreed that they wanted to save wherever they could – no matter the amount saved. While most respondents said a saving of between 11% and 30% was enough to be seen as valuable to them, only 7% said they preferred a saving of over 50%.

“However, what most consumers don’t realise is that when they are using loyalty schemes, the perceived savings are being worked into the price of the items and often require the consumer to spend multiple times on multiple items – ultimately costing them money,” says Madley.

The survey also showed that price comparison programmes are important. 75% of respondents saw the value in comparing prices to receive 10% back on the difference, with Game’s Price Beat Promise, for example.

“One of the more surprising findings, especially for us, a popular category for customers to redeem the Price Beat Promise was on groceries versus that of large appliances, despite smaller margins on savings – indicating how much the consumer pocket is being stretched. Following the pandemic, groceries have become a key category for us, being essential, it is positive to see that consumers consider us an affordable retailer in this highly competitive category.”

Other popular categories included electronics (including laptops and cell phones) and small appliances.

“These results are testament to why Game chooses not to have a loyalty scheme. We firmly believe that everyday low prices must be made available to all South Africans, every day with savings being immediate and not earned. This is why we only work with the best suppliers and manufacturers to give customers our 10% Price Beat Promise on every single item,” concludes Madley.

Highlighting that Game intends to run this price perception survey on a quarterly basis to keep abreast of changes and trends in consumer behaviour.

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