Commercial property specialist Broll has published a retail report which examines how the prices of key products and services have increased over the past 10 years, and the effect this has on the spending power of the average South African.
“Most of the country’s population is concerned about the high cost of living, which appears to be increasing faster and higher than the average increase in salaries,” it said.
“When taking all of the above-mentioned factors into account, it is evident that consumers continue to focus their spending on necessities such as food and pharmaceutical products with luxuries such as jewellery taking a back seat.”
It added that this trend is set to continue throughout 2018 with little signs of relief likely.
“The rising price of fuel, increased electricity tariffs, and living costs overall continue to rise, all of which impact upon the retail supply chain and hence the goods and services which consumers spend on,” it said.
“This will negatively affect consumers’ pockets and is expected to place further pressure on disposable income.”
Factors affecting consumer spend
As part of the report, Broll looked at a number of which factors were to blame for the decline in consumer spending.
It also offered a comparison of 12 everyday items, and how much they cost in 2008 vs 2018.
- VAT hike – Consumer spending has been set back even further with the 1% increase in VAT effective 1 April, a 52 cents increase in the fuel levy and sin taxes up between 6% and 10% depending on the product, the report notes.
- Electricity – South Africa’s electricity cost is in the higher bracket compared with 95 countries across the globe with citizens paying R2.05/kWh compared to the world average of R1.51/kWh. The high cost of electricity hangs on Eskom’s supply shortages and thus prices have increased more than 350% in the past decade, a trend that is unlikely to reverse.
- Property – The annual increase in municipal rates, taxes and services costs, as well as the re-valuation of properties also increase the financial burden of consumers, it said.
- Petrol – The petrol price, although competitive on a global scale, saw a July increase that set a new record hitting R16.02/litre for 95 unleaded. When compared to prices in 2008, petrol now costs 49.7% more. This not only impacts the cost of transport but has spin-off costs in all related industries and particularly food, it said.
- Groceries – Broll added that the cost of basic goods such as milk, meat, sugar, bread and cheese was much cheaper 10 years ago with a basket of goods in 2018 costing 93.4 % more. White bread costs R13.49 today, but cost only R5,89 in 2008.
- Sin taxes – Cigarettes now also cost more than double at R45.35 (for a 20-pack) compared to R20.13 in 2008 while 250g of instant coffee now takes R36.99 out of your pocket, but only cost R13,80 in 2008.
- Entertainment – Going to the movies is quite an expensive outing, the report indicates, with the cost of a 2D movie ticket about R85, costing closer to R25, 10 years ago.