Home > What we do > Our research: South Africa > South African Consumer
Our research
Home > What we do > Our research: South Africa > South African Consumer

South African Consumer


South Africa remains one of the most heterogeneous countries on earth. With eleven national languages, among the largest Gini-coefficient’s (denoting inequality) and a population of close to 57 million people, the largest economy in Africa is also one of the most misunderstood. Drawing on two decades of experience and multiple research reports, this overview of the South African landscape provides a theoretically sound foundation by which to understand South African consumer behaviour.

The comprehensive overview covers a few key topics, which include:

  • A breakdown of the consumer landscape according to an updated growth incidence curve
  • An analysis of each macro-segment in South Africa. This includes the mass market of low-income households, the unique and rapid rise of the black middle class and the affluent segment that, while small, accounts for up to 30% of consumer spend.
  • Key consumer characteristics in each segment as well as marketing touch points
  • A series of expert and ethnographic video clips (90 seconds each) explaining the nuances of South African socio economics and illustrating key points from the research.
  • Marketing insights at each point along the segment continuum to show both best practice examples and specific myopias experienced by firms who have not done their homework.

The institute also offers a presentation called “South Africa in 20 mins

  • Aimed for you to use as a contextualisation before a meeting / presentation
  • A means to keep your employees up to date with the latest macro indicators
  • The presentation includes slides about the country’s demography, economy, political landscape, retail landscape, education system and household segmentation.

For those looking for more than just a demographic profile of South Africa, this overview will paint a comprehensive picture on South Africans. Overall, consumers from all segments have much more choice, thanks to the expansion of retail in the last twenty years. The Internet, mobile phones and a proliferation of media options, have created unprecedented access to information. The presentation also identifies some core elements of South African consumer decision-making that come from a complex range of material and non-material motivations. The presentation is so much more than a string of publicly available facts, but rather the outcome from primary research findings collected and synthesised by the UCT Marketing Institute. 

To access the report, please contact Kulsoem Roode on kulsoem.roode@uct.ac.za or 021 650 4312.