The first sign that an economy is about to be hit by hard times is when consumer spend tapers off. And in this environment it is retailers that are among the hardest hit. SA has had more than its fair share of tough times this year with the country slipping into a recession, the World Bank halving its economic growth forecast to 0.6% from an earlier estimate of 1.1%, and grim job prospects.

Both consumer and business spend is more cautious during recessions and slowing economies, which in turn affects communication in an already price-sensitive market, says Ornico marketing manager Mongezi Mtati.

“Pick n Pay recently announced it will join those retailers, such as Woolworths and Massmart, which offer in-store credit,” he says. “This move is likely to lead to the price-sensitive retail sector amending its communication and customer interaction to include in-store credit.”

Shopping and advertising
Retail shopping and advertising

Recent retail TV advertising, says Mtati, shows a slight shift from the traditionally price-sensitive model of communicating savings to now creating a narrative with visually appealing work. “Checkers, for instance, has been talking about its Gordon Ramsay food range for parents and children. Pick n Pay, meanwhile, is creating fast-paced ads that have everything to do with the visual effect and a feel-good factor rather than price. In addition, Pick n Pay is also offering free food magazines at the counter that include product communication not in traditional catalogue format.”

As the retail market becomes more competitive, with players in this sector competing for an ever-shrinking share of wallet and dwindling attention spans, Mtati says it will be interesting to see how retailers innovate as summer kicks in.

October’s Financial Mail AdForum, in association with Ornico, will review recently flighted retail commercials from Checkers, Clicks, CNA, Game, Hirsch’s, Makro, Pick n Pay Hypermarket, Shoprite, Spar and Woolworths on October 13 at Vega School in Johannesburg.
Time: 7hoo to 9h00

For more information or to book tickets contact Melissa de Agrela at

Tickets cost R270 ex Vat.