• 32% have turned to online to get better deals, save on petrol and minimize shopping trips
• 26% claim they only have enough money for food, shelter, and the basics
Amidst a financial pressure cooker and a continued barrage of power cuts, the 2023 NIQ Consumer Outlook Report for South Africa has found that 70% of surveyed consumers already feel like they are living in a recession while 76% say that increased costs of living are to blame for their recent financial struggles.
Interestingly, even with the additional burdens on family spending, local consumers still plan to spend as much on groceries and household items in 2023 as they did before. To achieve this sustained lifestyle, South Africans are deploying tactical manoeuvres by adapting their spending habits to counter growing price pressures. Key moves include buying in bulk (50%) and chasing promotions (36%), while 56% are keen to take advantage of loyalty schemes.
The merger of two shopping realities
Of great interest are the 32% of consumers who say they have turned to online to get better deals and minimise shopping trips. Considering this, NIQ South Africa Market Leader Gareth Paterson says, “In 2023, the digital and physical worlds of retail will merge in ways we have yet to see before and companies need to think holistically about where their products are being sought by consumers.”
“Both instore and online have roles to play within consumers’ shopping behaviour and it’s up to retailers and manufacturers to understand where they need to focus to best serve the consumer across the omnichannel experience.”
Another fascinating aspect of consumer behaviour is the differentiation between shopping and buying habits. NIQ’s 2023 Consumer Outlook study confirms that while offline channels are essential to consumer buying habits, there is also strong omnichannel shopping familiarity across the globe.
Blurred shopping habits
Overall, the study has found that consumers move fluidly across channels to fulfil their needs, meaning growth will come from a balance of both online and offline sales strategies. Consumers have a heightened omni familiarity thanks to the conditions of pandemic lockdowns and limited store access.
As they build on that familiarity, while re-introducing physical store interaction, NIQ forecasts a blurring of shopping habits across channels and a renewed interest in shopping e-commerce, particularly as a strategy to save money.
Paterson elaborates, “Even though the bulk of local shoppers still spend the most offline in physical stores; shopping habits are evolving and will continue to influence how spending budgets are allocated across online and offline channels. This reinforces how vital brand presence and impact are during the formative selection process and the importance of retailers and suppliers focusing on the right areas to best serve consumers across the omni channel experience.