In Q2 2023, the financial status of South African households was not uniform. While about one-third (34%) of families reported an increase in their incomes, almost a quarter of them faced a decline. Nonetheless, the majority (72%) of people remained optimistic about their future incomes, expecting an increase in the coming year. That being said, the management of debt remained a major concern, especially among Gen X respondents.
Access to credit and lending products was crucial to achieving financial goals; 89% of respondents recognised its importance. Younger generations, such as Gen Z and Millennials, expressed a pressing need for additional liquidity. However, there was a significant gap between the perceived importance of credit access and actual access levels; only 34% of respondents believed they had sufficient access to these crucial financial tools. While one-third of consumers planned to apply for or refinance credit in the coming year, the process can be complex. Overall, 44% of those with such plans didn’t follow through due to obstacles, such as high credit costs, fear of rejection due to income or employment status, and the exploration of alternative funding sources.
Many South African consumers were worried about digital fraud and personal data security. Nearly half (48%) of respondents reported being targeted by fraud schemes in the past three months, and another 9% fell victim to those schemes. More concerning is 43% of consumers were targeted without even realising it. This highlighted the importance of consistent credit report monitoring to identify fraudulent activities early and take action quickly. Common fraud attempts included money/gift card scams, phishing and smishing, and consumers need to be vigilant and take protective measures. As a result, 90% of consumers were hesitant to share personal information due to concerns about identity theft and privacy invasion. This reinforces the need for stronger data security measures and safer digital environments.