The latest insights from FNB have shown a slight boost in card spend since the start of level 4 lockdown. However, the Bank states that despite the increase in consumer spending, activity is still averaging significantly lower compared to pre-lockdown levels.
Interestingly, FNB insights also show panic-buying in the 3 days before the start of national lockdown in March 2020. Over the 3 days, the Bank’s card holders spent in excess of R4.3 billion stocking up on goods they consider essential.
Chief Executive of FNB Retail, Raj Makanjee says, “Since the first announcement of measures to go on a lockdown, consumer spending has been on a roller-coaster. While consumers were panic-buying in the days ahead of lockdown, overall consumer spending since the start of lockdown has been subdued. We witnessed a slight increase over the course of level 4 lockdown and expect this trend to continue improving into level 3.”
“It’s been particularly interesting to see some of the popular spend buckets during this period. We’ve seen sustained activity in grocery shopping, particularly among merchants which are closer to residential areas compared to shopping malls. Some consumers spent on home improvement items as well as tech and digital, presumably for work and/or online schooling or kids entertainment during this period,” adds Chris Labuschagne, CEO of FNB Credit Card.
While FNB reports a relative increase in shopping activity, the Bank encourages customers to continue managing their money responsibly. Since April 2020, FNB has availed Cashflow relief with 3-month payment breaks for qualifying customers. The relief is offered at preferential interest rates with a flexible repayment term; there are no initiation fees or penalties on early settlement. In recent weeks, consumers have also received further reprieve on their cost of servicing debt when the SARB further reduced its interest rates by 50 basis points.
FNB acknowledges that this is a very difficult time for households as many may be surviving on limited income or savings as a result of COVID-19. During this period, the Bank urges customers to continue maximising its free benefits such as eBucks rewards and telco through FNB Connect. As the country transitions into winter months, FNB customers can also benefit from the Bank’s relationship with Clicks when making pharmacy purchases.
“Since Clicks became an eBucks partner in April this year, 56% of our customers are spending 100% of their pharmacy spend at Clicks. In March, before the partnership started, this behaviour was only evident among 27% of customers. This is evidence of the value that customers get from banking with us and maximising our rewards partnerships. Over the years, eBucks has proved to be a key driver of behavioural banking among our custom.
INFO SUPPLIED BY FNB.