Last week, we looked at how spending on Entertainment by 22seveners changed after the lockdown started. We also highlighted the top 10 spending categories before and after lockdown and identified who the big movers were. If you missed out, you can find the post here.
This week, we’ll be focusing on the levels of spending on Transport & Fuel and Eating Out & Takeouts before and after the lockdown was implemented in South Africa.
The infographic above indicates the concentration (think number of transactions) of spending on Transport & Fuel before and after the lockdown was implemented. The more dots there are, and the darker these dots are, indicate that more transactions were conducted. From this, we can clearly see that spending on this category dropped – but the levels of spending remained the same in some areas.
Small, concentrated areas within the central business hub of Johannesburg saw spending remain the same before and after lockdown. These areas are home to many large and important organisations – businesses and organisations which were considered “essential services” during the hard lockdown.
Because of their importance, their employees were still required to travel to and from work – which explains why the spending on Transport & Fuel remained similar pre and post lockdown. Let’s visualise this, together with the data of 22seveners all over South Africa, in a graph:
Looking at the data, which is based on total expenditure, we can see that the average amount spent on Transport & Fuel dropped after the lockdown was implemented. This was expected as we spent most of our time at home.
Did you notice the slight upward trend in the post-lockdown curve (purple line) as the lockdown period went on? This was expected as more industries opened up and lockdown restrictions were eased – allowing more people to travel which increased their transport-related expenditure.
The trend was not isolated to South Africa as it also had a huge impact globally. The pandemic, coupled with other macroeconomic factors, actually pushed one of the benchmarks used to measure oil, the WTI, into negative territory. This meant that participants in the market were willing to pay you to take delivery of the oil!
Eating out & Takeouts – another category which saw a significant decrease in spending activity post lockdown. The same trend was seen in other parts of the country too but it was particularly bad in Cape Town – a city whose restaurant and hospitality industry draws in visitors from all over the world.
Again, the decrease was expected as many restaurants were forced to shut their doors. Although restaurants have been allowed to re-open, many are struggling to survive as a result of many factors. The curfew, no alcohol sales and customers wanting to reduce contact with others are just some reasons why restaurants are experiencing a slow recovery.
Restaurants are closing because they can’t cover their expenses. The biggest factors are their fixed expenses – these are expenses which don’t change regardless of the number of customers you serve and include things like rent, equipment and licensing costs. Many restaurants don’t have the excess cash reserves to cover these costs during months of non-operation.
If you’ve ever needed a reason to support local, now is the best time to do so. Small and medium-sized businesses are said to employ close to half of South Africa’s workforce but many of them are shutting down. They’re run by people who’ve taken risks and driven innovative ideas – think of it as supporting someone else’s dream and putting money back into your own community.