Would you have believed it if someone told you that we would be where we are now at the beginning of the year? The coronavirus pandemic has certainly caused not only a health pandemic but an economic and social pandemic has resulted too.

Our data and design teams have worked hard to bring together what we’re about to present to you below – a visualisation of expenditure on certain categories by 22seveners before and after the lockdown started.


Source: 22seven

One of the hardest-hit industries not only in South Africa but also around the world. The industry has been largely shut down for the better part of the lockdown period which started in South Africa on the 25th of March. The total amount spent by 22seveners on Entertainment peaked at the beginning of March, the last ‘normal’ payday period this year before the virus hit.

Spending on Entertainment since the lockdown period has been relatively flat as the number of activities that we can do for leisure is largely limited. While we were confined to our homes during the Level 5 lockdown, the main forms of Entertainment we still had access to were online streaming services and satellite television. This would explain the relatively flat spending post-lockdown as many of us were spending money on these services already.

What does the future hold for the entertainment industry? The industry will be one of the slowest to recover because of the nature of the services offered – most of the activities in the industry involve large gatherings, some in indoor and confined spaces.

Source: 22seven

Before we dive into the infographic above, we need to make it absolutely clear that we don’t, and are unable to, track any of your live expenditure locations. This heatmap shows the amount of expenditure made on Entertainment before and after the lockdown started in the greater Cape Town area. The warmer (more red) the dot is, the greater the amount which was spent on Entertainment.

As you can see, there are more dots and a greater degree of spread in the dots during the pre-lockdown period. Post-lockdown, the spending was mainly confined to the Cape Town CBD area. This doesn’t mean that 22seveners living outside of the CBD weren’t spending money at all, but that they were spending very little compared to the pre-lockdown period.

Although most parts of the Entertainment industry have subsequently been allowed to open up, they have had significant virus prevention methods placed on the companies operating them. This, together with the fear of contracting the virus, will see a very slow recovery for the industry.

Top 10 Spending Categories

Source: 22seven

Here’s a comparison of our top 10 spending categories on the 22seven app before and after the lockdown period.

The consistent ones
You’ll notice that Groceries tops both lists – we can’t really go without food plus they were the only stores which we could, and needed to, visit during the lockdown period. Spending on Cellphone and Transport & Fuel categories also remained near the top during both periods.

The ones who’ve dropped down
Spending on Entertainment and Eating Out & Takeouts dropped down the list mainly because these industries were largely closed during the Level 5 lockdown period.

ATM & Cash dropped off the list completely during the post-lockdown period. This had to do with many small businesses and informal traders, who accept cash-only, being closed. At the time, reports were also released about how long the virus could last for on certain surfaces and people just generally didn’t want to come into unnecessary contact with objects that others might have touched – like cash and ATM machines.

Home & Garden and Health and Medical also dropped off the list completely post lockdown. Home & Garden spending decreased mainly because those who offered the services were not allowed to operate and many of us had time to attend to those services ourselves while we were at home.

You may we wondering how counterintuitive it is that spending on Health and Medical related expenses dropped off the list during the lockdown? Well, it boils down to two things mainly: firstly, the health-seeking behaviour of South Africans would have dropped during the lockdown period. People would’ve put off any non-emergency trips to their healthcare professionals to avoid contact with people. Fewer trips to your doctor also mean fewer trips to the pharmacy which equals less spending.

Secondly, people would’ve stocked up on their essential medication before the lockdown period started to avoid having to visit pharmacies, and increasing exposure to others, once the lockdown commenced.

The ones who’ve climbed up
Investments, Savings, Insurance and Card Repayments all climbed up the list. While there was a portion of 22seveners who saw a reduction in or lost their incomes completely, those who had stable incomes during the lockdown suddenly had extra money left over – mainly because they could spend their money on fewer goods and services. Remember when we could only buy essential goods in-store and online during Level 5?

All of this extra money went towards paying back debt (card repayments) or increasing the value of their retirement accounts (investments and savings). We commend our 22seveners for making these wise decisions!

The world will certainly be a different place once the pandemic has passed and the same can be said about the spending habits of 22seveners and their fellow South Africans. There are spending habits that we picked up during the lockdown which will stick with us and others which won’t. Living and spending under the “new normal” may well just become normal.