Many marketers view South Africa’s Traditional Trade (TT) sector as a massive missed opportunity. Their desire to tap into this market is justified given that traditional trade accounts for R46 billion or 33% of all consumer goods package sales in South Africa. With 95% of all retail outlets in the country being TT outlets, the sheer quantity and far reaching presence of this sector, makes it all the more challenging to grapple with in a meaningful manner.
Its sizeable growth in the last 20 years, has taken place against the backdrop of the South African population growing in size from 38 million to 53 million and an increase from 7.4 million to 15 million households. Additional factors include the rapid progression of the middle class in terms of their socio-economic standing, as well as innovation in products, packaging and pricing available to consumers.
South Africa’s marketplace is also more retail dense than ever before, with the number of Modern Trade – Hypers and Supers – having increased from 790 to 2,875 and branded convenience stores having increased to more than 4,500 outlets. TT has, however, more than kept up with its more formal counterparts, with the number of outlets having grown from 31,000 to 134,000 in the last 20 years – a massive 100,000 new outlets, with these stores being equally prevalent in both urban and rural areas.