Mastercard SpendingPulse™ report shows a healthy year-on-year increase in spending in January 2018 as South Africans head back to school and work after festive season

 14 March 2018 – South African consumer spending for January 2018 climbed 3.8 percent year-on-year after removing the effects of inflation, marking the same pace of growth the retail industry saw during the December peak season. This is according to the Mastercard SpendingPulse January 2018 report, which provides a macroeconomic analysis of retail spending trends in South Africa.

Including the effects of inflation, retail sales for January 2018 grew 7.3 percent year-on-year. Inflation contributed just 3.5 percentage points to overall sales growth, the lowest levels seen since SpendingPulse started tracking South Africa in 2013.

“January retail sales show an improvement in consumer discretionary spending, with South Africans benefiting from a moderation in inflation, a stronger rand, and some recovery in industries such as agriculture as production recovers from the severe drought,” says Sarah Quinlan, Senior Vice President and Group Head of Market Insights for Mastercard.

“With 2017’s GDP growth exceeding expectations at 1.3 percent and improved business confidence, we are seeing a healthier economic outlook with a possibility of stronger wage and employment growth in the months to come.”

Key findings of the Mastercard SpendingPulse South Africa January 2018 report include:

  • January 2018 recorded more sales volume than each of the five prior January periods.

  • Pharmaceuticals, medical goods, cosmetics and toiletry retailers modestly underperformed in January with inflation adjusted sales rising 3.5 percent year-on–year – a substantial deceleration from the six percent year-on-year surge seen in December 2017.

  • The general dealer sector – which includes food and other day-to-day essentials – continues to underperform for a 13th consecutive month, with inflation adjusted sales declining by 1.2 percent year-on-year.  Including the effects of inflation, general dealer sales climbed 5.6 percent year-on-year.

Mastercard SpendingPulse South Africa reports on national retail sales and uses aggregated and anonymous Mastercard transaction data, coupled with survey-based estimates for other payment forms including cash and cheque. Reports are released monthly to subscribers ahead of other sources, providing timely, accurate, and unbiased insight into the South African economy. The report also includes an overall retail sales and price index to illustrate whether spending growth is being driven by increased shopping, inflation or increased promotions.


About Mastercard SpendingPulse™

Mastercard SpendingPulse™ reports on national retail sales and is based on aggregate sales activity in the Mastercard payments network, coupled with survey-based estimates for certain other payment forms, such as cash and cheque. SpendingPulse™ reports and content, including estimated forecasts of spending trends do not in any way contain, reflect or relate to actual Mastercard operational or financial performance, or specific payment-card-issuer data. SpendingPulse is provided by Mastercard Advisors, the professional services arm of Mastercard.

About Mastercard Advisors

Mastercard Advisors, the professional services arm of Mastercard, provides clients around the world with insights and solutions that drive business impact and ROI. The company uses advanced analyses and deep expertise in the payment field to translate data into market behavior and customized services. With over 80 billion transactions processed annually in 210 countries worldwide, Mastercard Advisors uses aggregated information and a consultative approach to help financial institutions, merchants, media companies, government and organizations of different sizes to boost their businesses. For more information, access

About Mastercard

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Birgit Deibele