Fact: South Africans spent R31 900 per second in retail stores in 2017. Yes, you heard it right, that is how much locals spent shopping up a storm last year. This caused a 2.9% rise in spending habits for 2017 as compared with 2016 in volume terms (constant prices), higher than the 1,7% annual growth recorded, but lower than the 3,3% in 2015.

Restaurants and stores specialising in food and drink benefitted handsomely, their sales rose by 5% in 2017. The highest growth rate was recorded across different store types – the miscellaneous ‘all other retailers’ category. A notable slump was seen in hardware stores.

Stats SA concluded the following 5 facts from their research:

1. Fact 1: South Africans spent R31 900 per second in retail stores in 2017

About R31 900 was spent per second across the industry during the course of 2017.


Fact 2: General dealers are responsible for 44% of sales

General dealers experienced a lacklustre growth of only 1,1% in 2017 but they dominated the industry in terms of sales value. For every R100 that consumers spent at retail stores in 2017, R44 was spent at general dealers, which includes supermarkets. The second largest contributor was stores specialising in clothing and textiles, contributing R18 for every R100 of total sales.


Fact 3: Meat accounts for 8,1% of total sales income

South Africans love their meat. A detailed list of products shows meat as the most popular commodity in the retail trade industry, contributing 8,1% to total sales income in 2014/15. Pharmaceutical goods and female clothing were the second and third most popular products, according to Stats SA’s Retail trade industry, 2015 report. The top eleven products that contributed half of total sales income are shown below.


Fact 4: Non-specialised stores are the largest employer

In 2014/15, over one-third of the 812 104 individuals working in retail were employed in non-specialised stores. Clothing stores were second, employing 23% of the retail workforce.


Fact 5: Non-specialised stores pay the lowest salaries

Non-specialised stores have the highest number of employees but the lowest salaries. The average annual salary for a person working in a non-specialised store was R66 044 in 2014/15, lower than the average of R93 632 for the entire retail trade industry. Compare this with the average salary for employers in retail outlets specialising in pharmaceutical goods.


Picture: Pixabay

Article written by

Nidha Narrandes

Nidha Narrandes is a food-obsessed travel addict with 21 years of journalism experience. Her motto - Travel. Eat. Repeat. She is happiest on a road to nowhere without a plan. A masterchef at home, she can't do without chilli - because chilli makes the world a tastier place.