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Financial services 7 April 2021

Easter spending up as consumers return to stores

Consumers spent enthusiastically this Easter according to the latest data from Standard Bank’s Card Division – in line with spending in 2019 but a stark contrast from 2020 spending over the same period.

Card transaction volumes for Standard Bank card customers over the Easter holidays was up three-fold year-on-year from 2020 and the value of transactions, the amount of money spent over Easter, was up four times year-on-year.

While spending in 2021 was still higher than spending in 2019 the consumer patterns compare more favourably, with card transaction volumes up one and a half times from 2019, demonstrating improved consumer confidence as many more consumers shook off the effects of last year’s stringent level 5 lockdown and chose to shop in store this year.

“Consumer spending this year demonstrates somewhat of a return to normality following a difficult Easter in 2020. Consumers embraced an eased lockdown to spend more at the shops, a trend highlighted by the increased card usage this year as opposed to last year when more consumers chose to shop online. In a sense it represents a return of consumer confidence and a linear progression to pre-Covid spending levels and patterns.” says Ethel Nyembe, Standard Bank Head of Card and Payments.

Standard Bank is South Africa’s largest card issuer.

Online spend was also up by almost three times this year as opposed to 2020. “We are encouraged by the rate and pace of growth in retail online platforms with ever increasing number of customers opting for the convenience and safety of digital shopping.” Says Ms Nyembe

In a similar trend to previous years, Saturday was the biggest shopping day this Easter followed by Monday. Volumes and values for 2019 and 2021 were again similar while the 2021 numbers were up significantly in 2020.

Card transaction volumes peaked at 200 transactions per second and averaged 140 transactions per second over the Easter period. Spenders, however, were not early risers with the majority of spend over the four days happening over lunchtime.

“This time last year we were in the early stages of a necessary hard lockdown. This adversely impacted spending as consumers were asked to stay indoors and had to resort to shopping online. While consumers have adapted to the new normal in the past year, it is encouraging to see a return to more conventional spending patterns this year,” Nyembe concludes.