South Africa

How South Africans spent their money during the Rugby World Cup

South Africans spent big during the Rugby World Cup, with transactions peaking when the Springboks were in action, and they spent three times more than a typical Saturday during the final. 

This was revealed in Discovery Bank’s Spend Trend Rugby World Cup 2023 Edition, which collected data from the company’s clients to analyse their spending habits during the event. 

The data showed that South Africans were willing to spend big to travel to France and support the Springboks in winning a fourth Rugby World Cup. 

Flight bookings made by clients to travel to the United Kingdom rose by 66% from 1 September to 28 October, while bookings to France skyrocketed 50 times. 

More than 1,000 Discovery Bank clients attended a Rugby World Cup match live in France. 

Many South Africans who travelled to France took the opportunity to take in the sights, with Discovery Bank noting that client spending shifted away from the stadiums to tourist hotspots when it was not game day.

Discovery Bank clients mainly spent their money at bars and restaurants across France, with many taking the opportunity to celebrate the Springboks’ success. 

At home, client spending patterns also shifted significantly, with spending concentrated in the weekends and, more particularly, whenever the Springboks played. 

Spending rose tremendously during the final, with clients spending three times more than the average Saturday when the Springboks beat the All Blacks 12-11 to win their fourth Rugby World Cup. 

This Spend Trend report for the Rugby World Cup follows the release of Discovery Bank and Visa’s Spend Trend 23 report earlier this year, which analysed consumer habits before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Data was collected from Discovery Bank clients and over 350 million bank cards from Visa. Over 20 billion transactions were used to produce the report, revealing where South Africans spend their money. 


Groceries is the largest spending category for South Africans across all income segments.

Spending increased on groceries partly due to increased food prices, with food inflation reaching 12% at the end of 2022. The basket size remained similar to what it was pre-pandemic.

Food inflation impacted the poorest in South Africa the most, with this group spending 50% more on groceries now than pre-pandemic.

Affluent customers can better cope with rising prices due to their flexibility in choosing where they buy groceries and what they buy.

Source: VisaNet data sample, 2019-2022


Spending on travel rocketed post-pandemic after being virtually wiped out, with average travel spending increasing by nearly 10% in South Africa.

This was due to the phenomenon of “revenge travel”, where pent-up demand was unleashed when countries alleviated their lockdown measures.

South Africans are increasingly travelling within South Africa.

Source: VisaNet data sample, 2019-2022

Eating out

Across the board, South Africans eat out more than they did pre-pandemic.

This is partly due to latent demand being released after the pandemic ended but is also due to increased load-shedding preventing South Africans from cooking at home.

Spending on eating out and takeaways is up 50% in South Africa versus pre-pandemic levels.

Discovery Bank and Visa expect these trends to continue as they have shown sustained growth post-pandemic.

On the other hand, spending on home improvements was a flash in the pan and has moderated to pre-pandemic levels.

This forms the basis of the ‘new normal’ for South African consumers. Businesses should position themselves to capitalise on these trends as they will continue for the foreseeable future.


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