Research from short-term lender Wonga found that local consumers are set to spend R204bn over the festive season, an average of R5,706 each for working-age South Africans.
This is more than a third of the average South African’s take-home pay, according to BankservAfrica’s latest index.
Average holiday spending on food and drink is expected to clock R2,174 per person, while the figure for travel is R1,633, followed by spending on gifts at R1,232 and entertainment at R667.
Durban is the holiday destination of choice, with 18% of respondents heading there, followed by Cape Town at 11%. Most people (57%) plan to travel by car.
For those staying home, 29% say it’s too expensive to travel because of rising expenses such as fuel.
But a big group (39%) says work commitments are the main reason for not heading to the beach.
Just over 70% of respondents say they plan to buy Christmas gifts. Almost all (98%) say the gifts will be for family members, followed by friends (25%). A fifth of all respondents say they are buying something for themselves.
Despite the rise of online shopping, traditional bricks-and-mortar shops remain the favoured destination for Christmas shopping. Money is at the top of the wish list, followed by vouchers.
Taryn Schmidt, chief marketing officer of Wonga, says that South Africans are relatively heavily indebted.
She calls it concerning that many people rely on a 13th cheque or bonus to tide them over this period. “If they unexpectedly don’t receive one, they may find themselves in financial difficulty.”