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In a new survey marking Youth Day, South Africa’s young people reveal where they shop, how they define value, convenience and sustainability, how they are influenced on what to buy – and which is the coolest retailer. 

Young South Africans remain drivers of change and carry in their hands the country’s future. This week, South Africa commemorates the 47th anniversary of the June 16, 1976 uprising with the celebration of Youth Day. FMCG retail research specialists Trade Intelligence and online survey business Chirp have marked the occasion with a survey of the attitudes of South Africa’s young shoppers to the retailers who serve them.

The survey – conducted using Chirp’s proprietary and highly-targeted methodology – canvassed the views of over 900 respondents across all incomes and ages to compare the shopping behaviours of our youth (in this case defined as those between 18 and 24 years of age) to older shoppers. The data was then adjusted to represent more clearly those South African shoppers who are active online. Overall, nearly 70% of shoppers identify just three retailers – Shoprite, Checkers, and Pick n Pay – as their most often shopped grocery store. However, among 18- to 24-year-olds, Shoprite dominates at 34%, with Pick n Pay and Checkers coming in at 19% and 14% respectively.  

When asked to choose their understanding of ‘value’ from a list of options provided , the number of young shoppers who selected each option provided was in line with that of the overall sample: 74% of young shoppers identified value as “Good quality at a reasonable price”, while 55% prioritised special offers and promotions, and 52% reported that they valued the discounts offered by South Africa’s growing ranks of retailer loyalty programmes. 

When it comes to a great grocery shopping experience, though, while ‘prices and specials in store being exactly as advertised’ was the most often selected option at an overall level, most 18- to 24-year-olds chose ‘clean store’. Interestingly, almost 50% of them valued the add-on services that have proliferated in South African stores – like being able to access basic banking services or buy a concert ticket.

This is a generation that puts a premium on their time; when asked to select multiple criteria for convenience, 51% of young shoppers said they looked for a store that opens early and closes late. Interestingly, ‘packaging that makes a product easy to carry’ was the fourth most-popular option among 18- to 24-year-olds, who are much less likely to own a car than their elders. And more than 40% of them report that they shop online for groceries at least several times a month. 5.4% report shopping online at least once a day – the age group with the highest percentage of these super-high frequency shoppers. 

Two trends are of particular importance for this generation: wellness and sustainability. 50% defined wellness in retail as stocking product ranges that focus on health and wellness, while 72% said that responsible retailers were those which treat employees and suppliers fairly; 57% said that promoting environmental sustainability was important in this regard.

“What’s interesting here is how important the human aspect of responsible retail is to young South Africans,” says Nicola Allen, a senior retail analyst at Trade Intelligence. “While looking after the environment is important, responsible retailing starts closer to home – young shoppers are motivated by a strong sense of fairness and appreciate retailers who show that they value this quality.” 

Shoprite was identified as having the best advertising, as voted by 25% of 18- to 24-year-olds, followed by Woolworths, Checkers and Pick n Pay. In-store displays were identified as the most influential form of traditional media, followed closely by TV advertising, with radio advertising solidly in the middle, and broadsheets – a staple for those over 50 – garnering support from just over 5% of this group. 

More than half of young shoppers reported that they had bought something based on the recommendation of a social media influencer, not surprisingly from this online generation. A massive 88% report that that they used WhatsApp several times a day, more or less in line with the total sample, but are more likely than older shoppers to be high-frequency users of TikTok and Instagram. Facebook and SnapChat are on the wane among the youth.

“As young shoppers become more comfortable in an omnichannel retail environment, brands and retailers need to communicate with them across platforms,” says Allen. “Both instore, through innovative point of sale, and online, where these shoppers spend so much of their time.”

Finally – a question of unique relevance for this generation and the brands and retailers looking to serve them – which is the coolest retailer? Woolworths is the head and shoulders winner here, across all the age groups, and while Pick n Pay follows across the spectrum, Shoprite is in second place for the 18- to 24-year-olds

And what about how will they be spending their youth day? A winning 24% of this socially-networked generation will be spending it the traditional way – hanging out with family.




About Trade Intelligence

Trade Intelligence is South Africa’s leading source of consumer goods retail research, insights and capability-building solutions, focusing on the industry’s corporate and independent retailers and wholesalers. We are the trusted voice of the sectors in which we operate, aggregating information to amplify knowledge, grow capability, and enable collaboration that drives profitable trading relationships and sustainable sector growth.

About Chirp

Chirp is an all-in-one research platform. Chirp lets you survey highly specific target groups and gather consumer opinions in minutes. It allows you to easily create custom questionnaires using the built-in form builder with various survey question types, logic jumps and other advanced features. Consumers are instantly recruited for the survey that matches the clients target market demographics and interests with the Chirp advanced audience builder. Push notifications are sent to consumers in the panel and can respond instantly. Responses can be reviewed in minutes with the real-time analytics dashboard and insights, allowing results to be shared and exported.

Get in touch with Chirp by contacting Nick Wallander at and visit or download the app by following this link, or alternatively snapping the QR code


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