Luxuries are out as pandemic-hit consumers tighten their purse strings

SA consumers have no extra income for luxuries and buy only essentials, a new survey has revealed.

The survey, led by consumer experience company nlighten together with media consultant Vanessa Raphaely and behavioural specialist Justine Jackson-Fraser, found that almost 50% of respondents have no additional income for luxury goods and buy only the bare essentials.

The aim of the survey — which included 261 respondents — was to assess how the Covid-19 pandemic had changed consumers’ shopping and spending behaviour.

The survey quoted 33% of respondents as saying that any extra spending money would go towards health and wellness items for their families and 40% indicated that health had become their priority.

When asked what the main driver behind their spending was, 41 % said that price was now their biggest driver for purchasing decisions, while 35% opted for convenience.

“As SA entered level two of the lockdown this week, businesses need to ask themselves if they are prepared to face the new consumer.Do  they know how their customer has changed in the wake of a global health pandemic?” said Nathalie Schooling, CEO of nlighten.

“Since women still make the majority of household purchasing decisions, it’s important that businesses tune in to what these customers value, which has changed substantially during the pandemic.

“Shoppers are tired of standing in long queues, it is time-consuming and just not safe any more, so finding new and convenient ways to serve will become key for companies,” said Schooling.

There has also been a heightened sense of empathy and a move towards putting money back into the pockets of the “little guy”.

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