South African consumers are starting to get excited about festive celebrations again after two years of lockdown restrictions, with almost half saying they will be planning a bigger celebration since last year.

This is according to an independent survey conducted by Pick n Pay, with over 1,000 local consumers, to track customer sentiment over this popular trading period. 

48% said they would be going bigger with their planning, up from 23% in 2021 and just 8% in 2020 – a time the country was in the thick of Covid-19. 

“It was a hard two years for South Africans during the pandemic – for a multitude of reasons – so it is very positive to see customers excited to spend time with family and friends, and plan festive get-togethers again,” says Andrew Mills, Group Executive: Marketing at Pick n Pay.

The survey showed that many would be prioritising their budgets to accommodate celebrations. 47% say they will stay at home, the same as last year. But the survey did show travel slowly picking up again, with 40% saying they will be travelling these holidays, up from 33% last year.

“Staycations have been popular for a long time, even before the pandemic,” says Mills. “We found customers preferring to stay at home over Christmas and then travelling to more coastal areas for their year-end holiday.”

The most popular main Christmas meal selected were braai items. Traditional South African dishes came second, with Christmas roasts – be it chicken, turkey, or ham and gammon – in the third spot.

Some 41% of the respondents mentioned meat as being an integral part of their Christmas celebrations, with salad at 23%, drinks (19%), chicken (17%), alcohol (13%), braai (11%) and wine at 11%.

“This is one of our busiest trading periods, and we have planned well to deliver incredible value to our customers at a very difficult time. The food on the table plays an important role in making Christmas exceptional and a celebration which families deserve. 

“It was great to see customers using our massive Black Friday deals to get a head start with their Christmas shopping. Christmas is a really important time for our customers, and we have carefully put together a collection of products for all budgets, whether our customers want to celebrate traditionally or in a more South African way.”

Mills adds, “Our Smart Shopper programme helps us deliver extra value to customers at this time of year as many use their saved points to deservedly spoil themselves or loved ones.”