Shopping activity over the December 2020 period weakened amid the second wave of Covid-19 and as households tightened their reins on spending after enduring a tough year.

The volume of online and in-store point-of-sale (POS) transactions processed by BankservAfrica during December 2020 declined by 6% year-on-year to reach 110-million (December 2019: 117-million).

The total value decreased by 1% at R68,7-billion from R69-billion in the previous year.

“These declines were to be expected after the turbulent year,” says Solly Bellingan, head of customer relations at BankservAfrica. “Interestingly, the value in spend declined slightly. But this could be due to South Africans taking on credit card spend, as has been the trend that we have observed for most of 2020 in our POS card activity numbers.”

Most South Africans did their December spending at grocery stores, service stations and restaurants and eating places.

“All in all, the economic hardship, combined with the lockdown restrictions, certainly contributed to a very different December compared to the previous years,” Bellingan says.