South Africans who spend the most money

South Africans living in Johannesburg spend the most money, followed by those from Cape Town and people living in Durban. 

However, spending from people living in Cape Town is growing faster than that of South Africans in Joburg and Durban. 

This was revealed in Discovery Bank’s SpendTrend24 report, compiled in collaboration with Visa. 

The report used data from Discovery Bank’s clients in South Africa and data from over 60 million Visa cards worldwide and over 3 billion transactions. 

Discovery Bank CEO Hylton Kallner said the research aimed to understand where South Africans spend their money and how they spend it. 

In the 2024 edition of the report, Discovery Bank and Visa also took a deeper dive into the spending habits of South Africans across the country’s three major metropolitan areas – Joburg, Cape Town, and Durban. 

This was then used to compare how South Africans spend their money in these cities with their global counterparts in emerging markets and developed nations. 

Despite a challenging macroeconomic environment, South Africans proved to be resilient in 2023 compared to their global peers, with spending growing slightly. 

While consumer spending in South Africa outpaced inflation by 19% in 2022, the growth in consumer spending closely matched inflation in 2023, lagging behind by just 2%. 

Kallner attributed this shift, shown in the graphic below, to a decline in ‘revenge spending’ on travel and luxuries seen in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic-era lockdowns. 

Kallner said that while the South African economy, and thus spending, is not growing as quickly as many would like, consumer spending has proven resilient and has not seen the wild swings experienced worldwide. 

Compared to cities in emerging and developed countries, South African cities demonstrate more stable spending patterns year-on-year and less fluctuation in spending across different market segments, he said. 

Joburgers led the way in terms of spending in South Africa, spending 47% more than the average South African. Capetonians spent 38% more than the average South African, with Durbanites spending 13% more. 

However, among these cities, spending in Cape Town increased the most at 6%, driven by above-average spending on groceries, eating out and travel. 

Spending habits are also different across the three meteors, with Capetonians spending more on groceries while Joburgers spent more on eating out. 

The average spend per active card across South African cities is shown in the graphic below, with Cape Town edging close to Johannesburg while Durban remains a distant third.