KASI consumer-sentiment index experienced a modest improvement in July rising by a single point from -11 to -10. Whilst the current economic conditions index stagnated at -34, the consumer expectations index increased by a one-point climbing to -1 from -2.
Household income change and purchasing power advanced further in July growing by 5 and 4 points respectively. Household spending and personal finance also continued on their recovery path in July. On the flip side, there was a reversal in general economic conditions in the city and in the country as they declined by 1 and 3 point(s) respectively. Similarly, job prospects fell in July by 2 points.
Of the seven countries tracked in the global index, consumer confidence in South Africa and Ghana had the best performance in July expanding by 10 points in both countries. Meanwhile, consumer confidence in Tanzania decreased by 23 points this month after gaining 51 points in June.
Consumer confidence in Africa rose by 1-point in July climbing to -10 from -11 with the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to affect current economic conditions and consumer expectations as evident in both sub-indices. The current economic conditions index languished in negative territory at -34 while the future expectations index had an incremental gain of 1 point from -2 to -1.
Although several countries lifted restrictions and eased lockdowns, some countries, notably South Africa, were forced to reinstate the lockdowns in July as Covid-19 cases surged. Conversely, countries like Ivory Coast and Tanzania moved forward with reopening their economies by resuming international passenger flights.
Covid-19 cases in the continent continued ticking upwards in July and as of 16th August, the number of cases stood at 1,108,837 with 25,337 deaths and 823,614 recoveries. Fears of Covid-19 as demonstrated by KASI’s Covid-19 fear index rose this month with 68% of respondents being very concerned about the virus compared to 67% last month.
Job prospects and general economic conditions dwindle though a low-inflation, low-taxation environment encourages household spending
The prevailing environment of low-inflation and reduced taxation continued to support household spending and enhancing consumer purchasing power in July with both indices gaining 2 and 4 points respectively. Moreover, the income-supplementary programs and the resumption to work for some workers, even with rising Covid-19 cases, led to increases in the personal finance and household income indices of 1 and 5 point(s) respectively. In spite of these improvements, job prospects shrunk by 2 points in July with 58% of respondents to the Covid-19 Africa Pulse report claiming difficulty in finding work within their residing city. The index of general economic conditions in the city fell by a point whereas the index of economic conditions in the country receded by 3 points. A rising dollar, vis-à-vis African currencies has led to growing concerns in the ability of governments to service their dollar-denominated debts.
International stimulus spurs consumer confidence in South Africa while fears of Covid-19 weaken consumer confidence in Tanzania
Concentrating on the countries tracked by the index, South Africa and Ghana equally experienced the largest uptick in consumer confidence (10 points). For South Africa, despite reinstating lockdowns, the government’s received funding from IMF (US$ 4.3 billion) and AfDB (US$288 million) to support its fight against Covid-19 including preserving of jobs, incomes and assisting enterprises. This led to an 11-point rise in current economic conditions in contrast to the 9-point increase in future expectations. South Africa leads the continent in the number of Covid-19 cases (583,653 as of 16th August)
Consumer confidence in Tanzania deteriorated by 23 points in July after advancing 51 points last month. In July, Tanzania’s government lifted all Covid-19 restrictions and this has caused fears amongst Tanzanians as more Tanzanians are worried about either themselves or a family member contracting the Covid-19 disease as illustrated in Tanzania’s Covid-19 pulse report. The future expectations and current economic conditions indices weakened by 22 and 29 points respectively.
High level of uncertainty and weakening job prospects spell tough times ahead for retailers especially those in the discretionary goods space
The divergences in the patterns of consumer confidence across countries in the continent is ubiquitous. Fluctuations in consumer confidence are also apparent. For example, in June, consumer confidence in Ghana had the largest decline while consumer confidence in Tanzania had the largest gain however, in July, this pattern shifted completely as we have indicated. Such shifts present a high level of unpredictability for retailers operating in the continent thus affecting decision-making. Unfortunately, with weakening job prospects and a large number of consumers only shopping for basic necessities as per the Covid-19 pulse report, retailers operating in the durable goods and luxury goods sectors will be the hardest hit.
“With such wide swings in consumer sentiment across countries, it is imperative for retailers to pay close attention to consumer-behavior in the context within which they operate. By focusing on consumer patterns in the relevant markets, retailers can make effective decisions that will enable them to survive through this period of uncertainty”
said Davies Nyachienga, Economic Intelligence Group at KASI.
About the methodology
KASI Consumer Confidence Score (KASI CCI) is a composite index compiled from a seven-question survey that runs monthly via our consumer polls in the countries covered. The data output is based on a fresh, randomly selected representative sample of city dwellers aged 18-64. Released the first week of every month, KASI CCI provides a focused view on consumer perceptions in seven African urban centers (Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Tanzania) where most spending in the continent is concentrated.
For each question, the final metric will be a ‘balance measure’ of the percentage of positive responses minus the percentage of negative responses. The overall metric will be an average across all the questions.
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