South Africans spent big on groceries, entertainment, and fuel in December

BankservAfrica’s point-of-sales (POS) transactional data showed how the spending varied among cost-conscious consumers.

Solly Bellingan, head of customer relations at BankservAfrica, said the total spend during the month amounted to R100 billion as transaction volumes reached 142 million in December.

South Africans spent big on groceries, entertainment, and fuel in December, as shown below.

  • Grocery stores and supermarkets – R26 billion
  • Betting outlets, including lottery tickets, casino gambling, and off-track betting – R11.7 billion
  • Service stations – R9.2 billion
  • Non-financial institutions – R3.5 billion
  • Family clothing stores – R3.1 billion

The busiest shopping places were grocery stores and supermarkets, with 45 million transactions, followed by service stations at 12.8 million and eating places and restaurants at 8 million.

“Our data show the total value of spending was only 7% higher than the previous year’s while the volumes had grown by 17%,” said Bellingan.

BankservAfrica’s Integrated Cash Management Service (ICMS) data shows that the amount of cash circulating in South Africa totalled R84 billion in December 2022.

It reflects commercial banks’ total physical cash orders for their respective ATM and branch networks.

Despite the 6% decline in the  R89 billion in December 2021 – resulting from the 19 working days in 2022 compared to the 21 in 2021 – cash remained in high demand. 

“One of the peak days was 15 December, ahead of the Day of Reconciliation, with cash orders to the value of R8 billion placed,” said Bellingan. “Orders worth R7.9 billion occurred on 23 December, during the Christmas shopping rush.”


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