In the first six months of 2012, U.S. exports of consumer-oriented products grew by 37% compared to the same timeframe in 2011.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
Required Report - public distribution
GAIN Report Number:
South Africa - Republic of
Retail Sector Grows Despite Global Downturn
In the first six months of 2012, U.S. exports of consumer-oriented products grew by 37% compared to
the same timeframe in 2011. Starting August 2012, pork casings and products containing egg and dairy
ingredients will have access to this growing market as a result of newly negotiated export protocols.
A growing middle-class and increased tourism continue to drive growth in South Africa’s retail food
sector, despite lower than expected economic prospects. Convenience and Forecourt retail concept in
South Africa, which is led by changing consumer lifestyles, is a growing trend for sales. South Africa,
being the Gateway to the Southern African region, is increasingly presenting appealing opportunities for
the United States. In the first six months of 2012, U.S. exports of consumer-oriented products grew by
37% compared to the same timeframe in 2011. In the past three years, U.S. exports of consumer-
oriented products have also grown from $75 million in 2009 to $126 million in 2011.
As the fourth largest supplier of consumer-oriented products to South Africa, the United States faces
strong price competition due to lower tariff rates for European as a result of the SA-EU Free Trade
Agreements. However, sauces, condiments, and other consumer-oriented goods have strong market
potential in South Africa given the comparatively limited capacity for food processing in-country.
Starting in 2012, pork casings and products containing egg and dairy ingredients will have access to this
growing market as a result of newly negotiated export protocols.
SECTION 1. MARKET SUMMARY
South Africa, an emerging market with a population of around 50 million people, possesses a modern
infrastructure supporting relatively efficient distribution of goods to urban centers, townships and rural
areas throughout South Africa and Southern Africa. The South African retail sector is sophisticated and
is mainly supplied by local products; however, imported products are becoming more important. The
retail market has been dominated by a few major supermarket chains such as Shoprite, Pick n Pay, Spar
and Woolworths, all owned by large South African holding companies. The South African retail market
expects changes in the near future with the entry of Wal-Mart through the Massmart acquisition. It is
expected that local companies will need to step up efficiencies in the retail space and product
Since the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa has experienced rapid growth in its retail food sector.
The growing demand for convenience, such as expected long term economic expansion, rising middle
class, and changes in consumer preferences, has resulted in the expansion of the supermarket retail
sector which presents opportunities for U.S. food producers. Currently about 70 percent of food sales
in South Arica are conducted in modern retails, and about 30 percent in traditional shops; whereas in
other countries in Africa only 10 percent of food sales are conducted in modern retails.
The South African food and beverage market is becoming increasingly sophisticated and is supplied by
both local and imported products. Retail outlets in South Africa offer the full spectrum of formats
available in the United States. The range of retail outlets include convenience drugstores (called cafés),
small general-dealers, specialty stores handling a single product line (for example, clothing, electronics,
furniture), exclusive boutiques, chain stores (groceries, clothing, toiletries, household goods),
department stores, cash and carry wholesale-retail outlets, and co-operative stores serving rural areas.
About 90 percent of inventories of consumer-ready products in these stores are domestically sourced.
A major phenomenon in South Africa has been the evolution of hypermarkets, which sell large
quantities of almost all consumer goods on a self-serve basis. The hypermarkets, located in suburban
shopping centers/malls, have put significant pricing pressure on local retailers by purchasing directly
from manufacturers and bypassing the wholesaler, typically with lower margins and higher turnover.
South Africa retail chains utilize their in-house import departments or third party distributors/importers
to facilitate the purchase and delivery of imported goods. The U.S. exporters can enter the retail sector
by dealing directly with the chains headquarters who will direct them to their third party importers.
It may be necessary to appoint an official after-sales agent for products of a technical nature in South
Africa. This may be a company that does not import or market the product in question, but rather,
because of its geographical reach, technical abilities and market expertise, acts as the certified service
agent. Appointing an appropriate after-sales agent is crucial in ensuring that the product develops a
respected reputation in the South African market.
1.1 Retail Trade Sales
A table below highlights retail trade sales for 2011 and for the first 6 months of 2012. Note that general
dealers are non-specialized stores with food, beverages and tobacco products.
Table 1. South Africa: 2011 and 2012 Retail Trade Sales According to Type of Retailer at Current
Prices (US$ million)
Month General Food & Beverage Total General Food & Beverage Retailer Total
Dealer Retailer 2011 Dealer (YTD) 2012
2011 2011 (YTD) 2012
January 2,568 641 3,209 2,506 628 3,134
February 2,483 609 3,092 2,678 648 3,326
March 2,873 694 3,567 2,916 712 3,628
April 2,794 757 3,551 2,565 684 3,249
May 2,744 665 3,409 2,028 472 2,500
June 2,922 692 3,614 2,117 479 2,596
July 2,799 726 3,525
August 2,759 689 3,448
September 2,774 654 3,428
October 2,486 684 3,170
November 2,588 663 3,251
December 3,559 981 4,540
Total 29,664 7,540 37,204 14,810 3,623 18,433
Source: Statistics South Africa
1.2 Retail trends, Consumer Tastes and Preferences
Based on a recent assessment conducted by FAS/Pretoria in collaboration with the private sector, the
following trends were discovered:
The South African consumer is becoming increasingly health conscious, whereby wellness
foods, health and convenience continue to be key drivers.
There is increased demand for house or private-brand labels as consumers see these products as
providing good value during economic difficulties caused by the ever rising costs of living in
Convenience is expected to remain popular with consumers, as supermarkets continue to
increase the amount of ready-to-eat food items offered at their fresh food departments, deli,
home meal replacement, and bakery departments.
There is demand for longer store hours or even 24-hour shopping.
Environmental awareness and ethical behavior such as recycling, waste reduction and organic
farming and produce are important to South African consumers.
Increased consumption of dairy products such drinking yoghurt, smoothies and ice cream.
Fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, grains and legumes are increasingly part of the daily diet for
middle to high-income consumers.
Food labeling is growing in importance, as consumers want to be informed about what they are
eating. (As per the Introduction of the revised Consumer Protection Act in March 2011).
Trends show that bottled water either premium, imported, flavored, enhanced and oxygenated
has achieved success and account for a large portion of the beverage market.
Although many South Africans choose products according to price, consumers in townships
often demonstrate contradictory demands and characteristics. For example, spazas and other
informal shops tend to only supply leading brand items because their customers demonstrate
strong brand loyalty.
Supermarket retail chains continue to convert or revamp their less successful store brands to a
more targeted consumer base in order to boost sales.
Supermarket chains buying back their franchised outlets to improve quality control.
1.3 Import and Export Trade Data
Imports: In the first six months of 2012, imports of U.S. consumer-oriented products grew by 37%
compared to the same timeframe in 2011. In 2011, imports from the United States totaled $126 million
for consumer-oriented products, an increase of 24 percent compared to 2010. The increase is
attributable by 27 percent increase in food preparations (210690) and the competitiveness of U.S.
suppliers. Consumer-oriented products such as snack foods, tree nuts, and other consumer-oriented
garnered the highest import levels in 2011. Other high value products showing consistent growth over
the last five years are food preparations (210690), almonds (080212), salmon (160411), sauces and
The top ten leading suppliers of consumer-oriented products were Brazil ($227 million), Netherlands
($153 million), Germany ($127 million), the United States ($126 million), China ($115 million), France
($112 million), Italy ($98 million), United Kingdom ($78 million), Australia ($73 million), and
Argentina ($72 million). South Africa’s major imported agricultural commodities from Brazil were
chicken cuts (020714; from Netherlands were Chicken cuts (020714) and dog and cat food (230910);
from Germany were meat of swine (020390) and food preparations (210690); from the United States
were food preparations (210690) and lactose syrup (170211); from China were apple juice (200979) and
tomato paste (200290); from France were sparkling wine (220410) and whey (040410); from Italy were
cocoa preparations (180690) and beer made from malt (220300); from United Kingdom were chicken
cuts (020714) and cocoa preparations (180690); from Australia were meat of bovine (020230) and
coffee extracts (210111); and from Argentina were grape juice (200969) and chicken cuts (020714).
Exports: South Africa’s 2011 consumer-oriented exports to the United States totaled $154 million.
South Africa’s most important exports to the United States are wine, fresh citrus, and macadamia nuts.
A successful partnership between Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), South Africa’s
Department of Agriculture, and the Deciduous Fruit Producer’s Trust has been setting up a pre-
clearance program for fresh apples, citrus, grapes, and pears, which has expanded market access for
South African fresh fruit exports to the United States and other markets.
1.4 Trends in Online Shopping
South African internet use is still in its infancy, utilized by middle and upper-income consumers who
can afford internet access. The online shopping sector continues to experience growth and is expected to
grow due to competition in the internet services providers. Some survey reveals an estimated growth of
40 percent of the internet retail chain in 2011. However, a large percentage of South African shoppers,
especially lower income consumers do not have access to internet and are not computer literate, and
prefer visit traditional stores to physically experience a product prior to purchase.
Surveys reveals that retailers are expected to adopt internet retailing, currently Pick n Pay and
Woolworths are the two major grocery retailers involved in online sales. Trends indicate the most
popular goods to purchase online are cosmetics and toiletries, and toys and games, but not grocery
1.5 Food Standards and Regulations
FAS/Pretoria has prepared several GAIN Report in 2011 on Food and Agricultural Import Regulations
and Standards (FAIRS) for South Africa, which can be found at the following links:
FAS/Pretoria FAIRS Report 2012
FAS/Pretoria FAIRS Report 2011
Consumer Protection Act: The South African consumers are fully aware of their rights which are
reflected in the South Africa’s new Consumer Protection Act which became effective March 2011. U.S.
exporters who intend to sell goods and services destined for South Africa will have to comply with the
new legislation, which includes provisions on product liability and labeling.
The Act states that, “if a defective or incorrectly labeled product was to cause harm or injury to a South
Africa consumer, the manufacturer could become co-defendant together with the local retailer or
supplier in product liability litigation”. The Consumer Protection Act places the burden of proof
squarely on the shoulders of the supplier, and not on the consumer as in the past. “Strict liability means
that the onus is on the supplier to prove that the product was not defective. The South African
consumer only has to show harm or loss and that this was caused by the product concerned”. Suppliers
will have to be particularly careful about proper labeling of products that need warnings or special
instructions for usage. Where any product has a risk of an unusual nature that an ordinarily alert
consumer could not be expected to know about, the supplier is compelled to bring this to the consumer’s
attention in plain and understandable language.
Table 2.South Africa: Advantages and Challenges Facing U.S. Products in South Africa
South Africans are developing a taste Consumers may need to be educated in preparing and eating products.
for western foods and are willing to try
The growing convenience segment in Preference is for traditional, locally produced products.
retail food industry needs imported
food and beverage products.
Favorable exchange rate, strong rand Competition from other countries and locally produced products. Ninety
with the weak dollar make American percent of products in the retail outlets are locally produced. South Africa’s
imports more affordable. major retailers have joined forces with the “Proudly South African” (PSA)
campaign, launched by the Government, to give PSA suppliers preferential
tendering for shelf space, and to promote South African products.
South Africa presents opportunities as Consumers are price-conscious and most do not exhibit brand loyalty.
a gateway for regional markets. Products must constantly be promoted.
South African consumers view U.S. Retailers and consumers have limited knowledge about the variety of U.S.
products as high quality. products.
South African importers seek suppliers Difficulty for U.S. suppliers to respond to trade lead inquires in a timely
who can offer reliable high-quality fashion.
products, in particular consolidators of
mixed containers at competitive prices.
Importers and distributors can help High import tariff rates faced by U.S. suppliers from European competitors
develop brand loyalty. due to the SA-EU Free Trade Agreements.
SECTION 2: ROAD MAP FOR MARKET ENTRY
2.1.1 Entry Strategy: Introducing a product successfully depends on strong promotion and product
support. In South Africa’s very competitive marketplace it is essential that U.S. exporters choose the
correct agent or distributor. Evidence shows that the most successful U.S. company ventures are those
that have researched their market thoroughly before engaging in a search for agents and distributors.
Once contacts are established, it is advisable to visit South Africa, since firsthand knowledge of the
market is highly useful. Research has shown that new opportunities may be developed in South Africa
through aggressive marketing by product sampling and advertising.
In South Africa the terms “Agent” and “Distributor” have a very specific meaning. Agents work on a
commission basis after obtaining orders from customers. Distributors buy and sell products directly to
their customers. It is common to appoint a single agent capable of providing national coverage either
through one office or a network of branch offices. In addition to their role as the local representatives of
U.S. exporters, agents should be able to handle the necessary customs clearance, port and rail charges,
documentation, warehousing, and financing arrangements. The local agents representing foreign
exporters outside South Africa who export goods to South Africa, and the foreign exporters, are fully
liable under the South African Import Control Law for all regulations and control imposed on imported
products. Local agents are required to register with the Director of Import and Export Control of the
Department of Trade and Industry. It is important for a U.S. exporter to maintain close contact with the
local agent to track changes in importing procedures and to ensure that the agent is effectively
representing his or her interests.
2.1.2 Retail Market Structure
Basic flow of imported food products:
Retail supermarket chains maintain their own distribution systems, using modern warehouses to
allocate goods to supermarket branches.
Depending on the arrangements, in some instances imports are handled by the supermarket
chain’s head office, their identified importer or by branches themselves.
Trends in the distribution channels show that some of the supermarkets are moving toward
outsourcing the services of warehousing and transportation.
2.1.3 Major Supermarkets Sales, Shares, and Brands Outlets:
Below is a chart of South Africa’s major supermarket chains. For the most part, they offer much the
same range of products and brands. Gaining a competitive edge through image and service is their
major focus. The retailers work hard at establishing their own particular appeal. Some, like
Woolworths and Spar, do this by targeting a particular shopper segment, such as upper-income groups.
Others, like Pick n Pay and Shoprite-Checkers group, go head-to-head more on price and “shopping
These retail groups in South Africa enjoy enormous bargaining power. They are all able to dictate their
buying terms to suppliers who are expected to deliver products to central depots or warehouses, where
the products are then distributed to supermarkets and retail outlet stores using their own transportation
trucking system. Shoprite-Checkers and Spar, for example, are very strong in the predominantly black
areas (townships) whereas Woolworths is stronger in the smaller “up-market” segments.
Major supermarkets retail chains have a presence in the urban and rural areas and continue to open new
stores. Most supermarkets sell their own-label products as well as manufacturer’s brands.
The retail industry prefers to buy directly from local manufacturers. For imported products, some
supermarkets prefer to deal directly with U.S. manufacturers, because an import agent or a distributor
acting as a middleman can add up to 30 percent to the cost of the product, resulting in lower margins for
Supermarkets have recognized the growing demand for prepared food, and compete with convenience
stores or quick service stores and have increased the offering of fresh, prepared foods, and ready-to-eat
meals. Tables below highlight the South African major retail chains.
Table 3: South Africa Sales in Grocery Retailers by Category: Value 2009 – 2011
$ million 2009 2010 2011
Modern Grocery Retailers 21.19 24.90 26.06
Convenience Stores 1.94 2.26 2.58
Discounters 0.21 0.32 0.38
Forecourt Retailers 0.95 1.10 1.24
Hypermarkets 1.95 2.21 2.54
Supermarkets 16.15 18.99 21.31
Traditional Grocery Retailers 16.20 19.65 22.55
Food/Drink/Tobacco Specialists 6.70 8.09 9.4
Independent Small Grocers 7.34 8.81 9.94
Other Grocery Retailers 2.17 2.74 3.22
Grocery Retailers 37.39 44.55 50.62
Source: Euromonitor International
Table 4: South Africa Grocery Retailers Company Shares by % Value 2009 - 2011
% retail value rsp excl sales tax 2009 2010 2011
Shoprite Holdings 18.5 18.2 19.1
Pick n Pay Retail Group 16.2 15.7 15.4
Spar Group Ltd 10.7 9.8 10.0
Woolworths Holdings Ltd 3.9 3.8 3.9
Engen Petroleum Ltd 0.6 0.6 0.6
Total South Africa Pty Ltd 0.2 0.2 0.2
Shell South Africa Marketing Pty Ltd 0.2 0.2 0.2
Sasol Ltd 0.2 0.2 0.2
BP South Africa Pty Ltd 0.2 0.2 0.2
Chevron South Africa Ltd 0.1 0.1 0.1
Others 49.3 50.9 50.1
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0
Source: Euromonitor International
Table 5: South Africa Grocery Retailers Brand Shares by % Value 2009-2011
% retail value rsp excl sales tax Company 2009 2010 2011
Pick n Pay Pick n Pay Retail Group Pty Ltd 14.0 14.5 14.1
Shoprite Shoprite Holdings Ltd 10.0 10.0 10.5
Checkers Supermarkets Shoprite Holdings 5.0 4.5 4.7
Woolworths Woolworths Holdings Ltd 3.9 3.8 3.9
Spar Spar Group Ltd 3.6 3.2 3.2
Super Spar Spar Group Ltd 3.5 3.1 3.1
Kwik Spar Spar Group Ltd 2.6 2.3 2.4
Checkers Hypermarkets Shoprite Holdings Ltd 2.1 2.1 2.2
Tops Spar Group Ltd 0.9 1.2 1.3
Boxer Pick n Pay Retail Group Pty Ltd 1.5 1.3 1.3
U-Save Shoprite Holdings Ltd 0.5 0.6 0.6
Quickshop Engen Petroleum Ltd 0.6 0.6 0.5
La Boutique Total South Africa Pty Ltd 0.2 0.2 0.2
Shell Select Shell South Africa Marketing Pty Ltd 0.2 0.2 0.2
Sasol Sasol Ltd 0.2 0.2 0.2
BP Express BP South Africa Pty Ltd 0.2 0.2 0.2
Star Mart Chevron South Africa Ltd 0.1 0.1 0.1
Sentra Value Stores Shoprite Holdings Ltd 0.1 0.1 0.1
Score Pick n Pay Retail Group Pty Ltd 0.7 - -
Others Others 50.1 51.9 51.2
Total Total 100 100 100
Source: Euromonitor International
Pick n Pay: The Pick n Pay Group is South Africa’s second largest supermarket retail chain with head
offices based in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Pick n Pay has over 15 percent of the retail market
share with over 600 stores in the South African food sector. The group has outlets in South Africa,
Southern Africa, and in Australia through its Franklin outlets. To take advantage of the South Africa
fast growing demand for convenience shopping including global trends, Pick n Pay entered the market
through the British Petroleum (BP) forecourt gasoline stations with an introduction of Pick n Pay
Express outlet in the major metropolitan areas across South Africa. The group offers three private label
ranges such as Pick n Pay (straightforward, no-frills packaging); Pick n Pay Choice (good quality at
lower price than branded products); and Pick n Pay Foodhall (high quality products at a premium). The
Retail Division manages Pick n Pay branded businesses such as food, clothing and general merchandise
in Hypermarkets, Supermarkets, Family Franchise Stores, Mini Market Franchise, Clothing, Butcheries
Meat Centers, and Gas Centers. The Group Enterprises Division operates the Group’s other non-Pick n
Pay branded group activities including Score Supermarkets, TM Supermarkets, property franchises, and
Go Banking, as well as finding new investment opportunities for the group worldwide. Pick n Pay retail
formats and brands are found in Hypermarkets, Supermarkets, Discount Supermarkets, Franchise
stores*, Clothing Stores, Liquor stores, Pharmacies, Score, Boxer supermarkets, Boxer hardware
stores, TM Zimbabwe, Franklins/Australia – corporate, and Franklins/ Australia – franchise. *Includes
Score stores which were converted to Pick n Pay Family franchise stores in 2009.
The emphasis of the supermarket division is on total convenience and freshness, with stores trying to
add value through the fresh food supply chain. Traditionally, Pick n Pay Score supermarkets have had a
presence in townships when other retailers have stayed away. Pick n Pay is the most modest of the high-
end super market chains. Price points are similar to middle- to high-income supermarkets in the United
Shoprite Holding: Shoprite is a South Africa’s largest food retailer and has about 34 percent market
share of the food retailing market. Shoprite caters to the lower-end of the consumer market with a focus
on private label or branded products on food for their more price-conscious consumers. The group
consists of about 1,100 outlets in urban and rural locations of South Africa and throughout Southern
Africa (Angola, DR Congo, Ghana, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zambia) Nigeria and India. The retail
formats and store brands are comprised of Shoprite supermarkets, Checkers Supermarkets, Checkers
Hypers, Usave stores, distribution centers supplying group stores with groceries, non-foods and
perishable lines, OK Furniture outlets, OK Power Express stores, House & Home stores, and Hungry
Lion fast food. Through its OK Franchise Division, the Group procures and distributes SKUs to the OK
Minimark convenience stores, OK Foods supermarkets, OK Grocer stores, Megasave wholesale stores,
Sentra stores, and Value Stores. Shoprite Holdings with its Checkers brand remain the sole player in the
hypermarkets in South Africa.
Checkers Hypers have a special section devoted entirely to imported foods as well as kosher and halal
sections. Checkers Hyper chain targets middle to high-income groups. Shoprite Checkers are similar to
a Shoppers Food Warehouse type of shopping experience. Shoprite Head Offices are based in Cape
Town, South Africa.
Woolworths: Woolworths Holdings Limited (WHL) is a South African-based retail group chain that
operates locally and internationally through two subsidiaries. Woolworths (Proprietary) Limited, and
Country Road Limited in Australia. Woolworths Proprietary operates and franchises stores in South
Africa, Africa and the Middle East; and Country Road Limited, listed on the Australian Stock
Exchange, operates in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Woolworths offers select ranges of
apparel, clothing, cosmetics, toiletries, footwear, jewelry and food under its own brand name. There are
about 437 Woolworths outlets stores. Woolworths stores presence are mainly in shopping malls or
shopping centers, and currently are opening food stand-alone stores in convenient suburban locations,
including Owned Woolworths, Franchised Woolworths, and Owned and Franchised Country Road
Woolworths caters to the wealthiest South African consumers with a strong organic food focus. In
focusing on quality, Woolworths utilizes a high degree of contract farming to supply fresh produce and
prepared convenience foods. Contract farming has enabled Woolworths to carry a wider range of
gourmet items, but often faces supply issues due to compliance issues with contract terms.
The “Woolies” shopping experience isn’t as up market as a Dean and Deluca, but it’s comparable to the
Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s shopping experience in the U.S. They carry a relatively small number of
branded products, instead promoting their own Woolworths branded private label products. Price points
are slightly higher than Checkers and Pick n Pay but relatively comparable to similar retail markets in
the U.S. Woolworths operates in other African countries such as Botswana, Kenya, Namibia and
Ghana, with plans underway to expand to Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, and Uganda.
Spar: The Spar organization consists of two types of members: Spar Retailers, who are independent
store owners, and Spar Distribution Centers, which provide leadership and services to the Spar Retail
members. Both members belong to the Spar Guild of Southern Africa, a non-profit company set up to
coordinate and develop Spar in Southern Africa. The members pay subscriptions to the Guild, which
uses these monies to advertise and promote Spar. The Spar grocery chain emerged in the 1963 when a
group of eight wholesalers were granted exclusive rights to the Spar name in South Africa to service
500 small retailers. A number of mergers and take-overs followed, and today all but one of the
wholesalers are owned by the Spar Group Limited, which operates six distribution centers that supply
goods and services to about 1,602 Spar outlets in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.
Retail formats and brands are comprised of Supermarkets, Superspars, Spars, Kwikspars, Build It, and
TOPS. TOPs is the Spar Group’s liquor chain, the biggest in South Africa.
All stores are independently owned, and many of the purchasing decisions are made at the individual
store level. Spar targets high-income consumers and locates its stores in more up-market
neighborhoods. Shopping at a Spar can be similar to shopping at an upmarket Giant or Shaw’s in an up-
market neighborhood in the United States.
Massmart Holdings: Massmast is a managed portfolio of ten wholesalers and retail chains, each
focused on high volume, low margin, low-cost distribution of mainly branded consumer goods, through
182 outlets, and one buying association serving 478 independent retailers and wholesalers, in 11
countries in sub-Saharan Africa such as Botswana, Lesotho, and Zambia. Massmart Holding Ltd was
acquired by the US-based retail giant Wal-Mart in June 2011. The Massmart group is the third largest
distributor of consumer goods in Africa, the leading wholesaler of general merchandise, home
improvement equipment and supplies, and the leading wholesaler of basic foods. It is estimated that
about 90 percent of the food products is sold through the group warehouse club discounting such as
Makro; and the group food wholesaling outlets such as CBW, Jumbo and Shield, are then sold on
through the information retail market such as spaza, street hawkers/kiosks. Wholesale stores include
Makro, Game, Dion, Builders Warehouse, Shield, Delarex, Feds DIY, Servistar, CBW, and Jumbo.
Visit the group website at: www.massmart.co.za for more information. According to Trade press,
Massmart annual sales up 15 percent during June 2011 through June 2012 which were boosted by
Makro Stores which performed exceptionally well, and its newly acquired Rhino Cash and Carry stores
in March 2012. Rhino stores are mainly involved in the retail of groceries and liquor to low-income
customers in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape
Metcash: Metcash Africa is the largest distributor of groceries and fast moving consumer goods
(FMCG) on the African continent. It has extensive franchise retail interests in South Africa and
operates in other African countries (Malawi, Namibia, Lesotho, and Swaziland,). The brand stores
include Metro Cash and Carry, Trade Centers, Liquor World, Stax, Friendly Warehouses, Alliance Cash
& Carry, Seven Eleven, Lucky Seven, Buy Rite, Viva-Supa-Save, and Pop-In, with private labels such
as (Family Favorite, Astor, and Golden Circle). Metro liquor stores such as Liquor World and Liquor
Warehouse offers consumers a range of imported liquor are conveniently located next to Trade Centers
and Metro Cash and Carry outlets. For more information visit the group website at www.metro.co.za
2.2 Convenience Stores
2.2.1 Entry Strategy
Convenience is a relatively new trend in the South Africa’s fast moving consumer goods market, and
continues to be key growth factor of the South Africa retail trade. There are around 600 convenience
outlets. Major retailers and wholesalers own most of the convenience stores. Woolworths Holdings
remain the leader in convenience stores. Woolworths Food outlets and Woolworths outlets are co-
located at Engen Forecourts Quickshops, a national gasoline chain; Sentra Value stores owned by
Shoprite Holdings; Sasol Forecourts joint ventures focus more with the restaurant chains; and Pick n
Pay Express outlets with British Petroleum (BP).
Convenience stores operate on extended hours or in some instances they are open 24 hours. South
Africans appreciate and typically shop at convenience outlets because they are perceived as time saving,
well lit, safe and convenient. One of the convenience concept is focus on pre-packed fresh produce and
meals, fresh meat, backed goods, and selection of hot meals.
2.2.2 Market Structure:
The market structure is covered in detail under the supermarket section of this report.
2.3 Traditional Markets
2.3.1 Entry Strategy:
Food retailers in South Africa range from highly sophisticated supermarkets at one end to rudimentary
street corner stalls at the other. In years past, predominantly black townships were virtually unserved by
large-scale food retailers. The informal retail sector in South Africa is continually growing and is
increasingly recognized by manufacturers and wholesalers as an important delivery channel of goods to
consumers. Informal market retailers cater to the needs of the residents via independent grocery stores
such as cafes, general dealer stores and several informal South African retail concepts (tuck shops,
shebeens, taverns and spazas) including hawkers (street vendors), kiosks, take-aways and fast foods. In
2010, the total number of street stalls/kiosks grew by four percent to reach 61,142 stalls. With the end
of apartheid, major retailers have also extended their services to these townships. Marketers saw the
spaza as the beginning of a new form of township convenience retailing, conveniently close to
consumers, and open at extended hours. Informal traders are generally defined as retailers that are not
registered for VAT.
Spaza shops are defined as small retail enterprises operating from a residential stand or home, engaged
in trading consumer goods. Spaza shops operating mainly in the townships are making their presence
felt in the local retail market. Products traded include food and nonfood products.
The informal retail market in South Africa is acknowledged as an important delivery channel of goods
to customers. However, the view is held that this sector may have peaked, as more formal shopping
centers are being developed in the previously disadvantaged areas. Currently, more stores are trading
seven days a week, creating greater convenience for shoppers. Sunday trading is becoming increasingly
important as the trend towards convenience continues. End of the month shopping remains extremely
On average, start-up investment for spaza shops amounts to less than $1000. Spazas are mainly
financed by private savings or loans from relatives or friends. Average employment amounts to about
three employees per business. Considering that the number of spazas may be 100,000, this sector of the
economy may provide 230,000 to 290,000 jobs, and support more than one million people. The most
important products sold by spaza shops are (in descending order): soft drinks, cigarettes, paraffin (liquid
petroleum for home use burner stoves), candles, maize meal, alcoholic beverages, bread, and sugar.
There is now growing awareness among manufacturers and producers of the importance of the spaza
retailers as a marketing channel. More than 20 percent of spaza owners report that products such as soft
drinks, dairy, and bakery products are now delivered to their shops. The most serious problems
encountered by spaza owners are inventory shortage or access to finance , high levels of crime
(robbery), severe competition, expensive transport , and bad debt or the granting of too much credit.
Although spaza retailers are often seen as survivalist enterprises, it is clear spazas are becoming not only
a permanent phenomenon on the South African economic scene, but more sophisticated and closely
linked to the rest of the economy than commonly perceived.
Despite the significance of the informal retail market, imported product is rarely featured at these
outlets. Informal retailers do not have the capacity to buy imported goods directly and rely mostly on
sourcing their products from local wholesale markets.
2.3.2 Market Structure:
The market structure is covered in detail under the supermarket section of this report.
2.3.3 Traditional Stores Sales, Outlets and Brand:
Table 6. South Africa: Street Stalls/Kiosks by Subsector: Units/Outlets 2008 – 2010:
Outlets 2008 2009 2010
Streets stalls/kiosks 57,075 59,360 61,142
Chained Street Stalls/Kiosks 83 88 92
Independent Street Stalls/Kiosks 56,992 59,272 61,050
Source: Euromonitor International
Table 7. South Africa: Street Stalls/Kiosks: Foodservice Value 2008 – 2010
$ million 2008 2009 2010
Street Stalls/Kiosks 376 557 661
Chained Street stalls/kiosks 6 8.7 10.3
Independent street stalls/kiosks 414 549 651
Source: Euromonitor International
2.3.4 Forecourts Stores
Forecourt retailers, or gas stations, are becoming increasingly popular in South Africa due to a growing
demand for convenience purchase on a daily basis. There are an estimated total number of over 3,000
outlets. Forecourts retailers are expected to record continued growth as a number of new petrol stations
open throughout the country. The inclusion of popular retail brands within forecourt retailers will likely
contribute to the number of consumers visiting these stores. South African restaurant chains saw a niche
in the sector, and are now entering the forecourt market.
Recent trends in the food sector confirm increasing demand in the extended choices of food and drink
that includes dishes such as: pap (corn-based staple) and meat, lasagna or roasted vegetables; ready-
made and packaged items such as sandwiches, microwavable foods, salads, fresh produce, meat pies,
biltong (jerky), home meal replacements, cheese, yoghurt, milk, baked goods, sweets, and chocolates.
SECTION 3: COMPETITION
Table 8: South Africa’s Key Export and Import Products and Trading Partners in
2010 – 2012
Product Category and Major SA EXPORTS to SA IMPORTS from Advantages and
HS Code Suppliers to USA USA disadvantages of
SA and market Millions of US$ Millions of US$ local suppliers
share January - March January - March
2010 2011 2012 2010 2011 2012
Meat and Edible meat Brazil – 30% 0 0 0 607 1.9 3.8 South Africa is a net
offal (02) Netherlands – importer of meat and
13% meat products. The
Sou Germany – pattern of imports in th Africa net
12% this category is
imports from the World
of $172 million in 2012 variable and depends
versus $112 million in USA largely on local minor
2011. supp conditions. Brazil, lier of 2%.
Australia and Canada
are members of Most
South Africa net exports Favored Nations
to the world of $10
m (MFN) status illion in 2012 versus
$30 million in 2010.
Fish and Seafood (03) India – 28% 6.6 5.5 6.5 336 765 988 South Africa is a net
New Zealand – exporter of fish and
Net imports 11% seafood products. from the
world of $38 million in Norway – 10% Major export
2012 versus $36 million categories are Frozen
in 2011. USA- fish (0303), Other Minor
supp Seafood (0307), lier of 2%.
Net exports to the world Crustaceans (0306),
of $123 million in 2012 and fillet (0304).
versus $126 million in
Dairy Products (04) New Zealand – 0 0 0 1.2 2.1 3.2 Dairy products
22% opportunities exist in
Net France – 18% categories of Milk imports from the
wor Ireland – 13% and Cream (0402), ld of $41million in
2012 versus $27 million Butter and Other fats
in 2011. USA and oils (0405), -
cheese and curd
lier of 8%
Net (0406) , Whey and exports to the world Milk products
of $23 million in 2012
versus $19 million in Buttermilk Yoghurt
New Zealand is a
member of MFN
France and Ireland
are members of the
(EU). The EU and
South Africa signed
a Free Trade
Agreement (FTA) in
agreement will be
phased in over a ten
to twelve year period
and will essentially
liberalize 86% of
imports from EU and
about 95% of EU
imports from South
Africa. The overall
of 90% coverage.
Edible Fruit and Nuts Mozambique – 2.7 2.5 5.7 2.5 3.1 3.9 South Africa is a net
(08) 15% exporter of dried
USA – 13% fruits and a net
Net Vietnam – importer of nuts. imports from the
wor 11% Major export ld of $29 million in
2012 categories are 0806 versus $22 million
– fresh & dried
grapes, and 0808 –
Net fresh apples and exports to the world States is a
pears. A small
of $555 million in 2012 major supplier market exists for
versus $515 million in of almonds
imports of dried
2011. (080212) with
exotic fruits, and
a market share
of 92 percent.
for shelled hazelnuts,
cashew nuts and
Prepared Meat, Fish Thailand – 260 0 42 947 514 279 South Africa is a net
(16) 66% importer of prepared
China – 9% meat, and fish
Net Peru – 6% products. imports from the
world of $49 million in
2012 versus $31 million The United
in 2011. States enjoys a
Net expor position in the ts to the world
of canned salmon $16 million in 2012
versus (160411) $14 million in
2011 market, .
of 52 percent.
Sugars and Sugar Brazil – 46% 169 209 214 1.4 3.3 6.6 South Africa is a net
Confectionery (17) USA- 9% exporter of sugar.
Malaysia – 7% The majority of
Net imports from the imports are in the
wor category of other ld of $70 million in
2012 sugar products in versus $45 million
solid form, such as
cane and beet sugar
Net (1701). exports to the world
of $30 million in 2012
versus Brazil and Columbia $32 in 2011.
are members of MFN
Preserved Food (20) China – 45% 3.0 3.8 3.0 1.5 1.7 2.0 South Africa major
Argentina – export categories are
Net 12% (2008) – other fruit imports from the
wor Italy – 7% nut; and (2009) – ld of $72 million in
2012 fruit + vegetable versus $46 million
USA – Minor
Net exports to the world supp Argentina is a lier of 3%.
of member of MFN $107 million in 2012
versus status countries; US$ 108 million
whereas Italy is
in 2011. a
member of EU states.
Miscellaneous Edible USA – 15% 2.9 2.9 3.0 10 9 11 South Africa is a net
Preparations/Processed Netherlands – exporter of processed
Fruit & Vegetables (21) 12% fruits and
Germany – vegetables.
Net 10% Opportunities exist imports from the
world of $74 million in for imports in the
2012 category of other versus $66 million
(2106), canned peas,
Net and grape and apple exports to the world
juice which are used
of $69 million in 2012
as a base for other
versus $66 million in
fruit juices, prepared
tomatoes, and fruit
United Kingdom are
members of EU
Beverages (22) United 14 16 20 3.4 4.5 5.2 South Africa is a net
Kingdom – exporter of alcoholic
Net 48% beverages. Major imports from the
wor Ireland – 6% export category is of ld of $113 million in
2012 France – 6% category 2204 – the versus $110
m wine of fresh grapes. illion in 2011.
The import market of
Net category (2208) is exports to the world USA –
dominated by well
of $247 million in 2012 Supplier of 5%
known brands from
versus $235 million in the UK having a
2011. market share of 72
percent whereas US
holds 4 percent. The
American spirits in
this category has
decline due to price
competitive from EU
countries include low
import tariff rates
paid by those
Source: World Trade Atlas
SECTION 4: BEST PRODUCTS PROSPECTS
A. Products Present in the Market Which Have Good Sales Potential:
Five-year trends show that some U.S. consumer-oriented agricultural exports to South Africa are
growing. Of interest are the consumer-oriented, snack foods, tree nuts, and other consumer-oriented
categories, which reached the highest export levels in 2011. Within this category, sauces and
condiments (HS 210390), fruits prepared preserved (HS 200899), and food preparations (HS210690)
have shown consistent and substantial increases. Other high value exports that have shown sustained
growth are almonds (HS080212), canned pink salmon (HS160411), vegetable seeds (HS120991), and
whiskies HS 220830).
According to 2011 data, the United States is the leading supplier of almonds, canned salmon, fruits
prepared preserved, sauces and condiments, and food preparations in the market, holding 91 percent, 70
percent, 47 percent, 24 percent and 19 percent market shares, respectively. The distilled spirits
(whiskey) market is significantly different, with the United Kingdom holding the largest market share of
79 percent. There is an increase of 16 percent United States distilled spirits exports to South Africa in
2011 with 7 percent market share. This increase is due to the fact that American products (Jack Daniels,
Woodford Reserve, Buffalo Trace, and Knob Creek, for example) are price competitive and an increase
in brand awareness among South African consumers.
Table 9. South Africa: Products with Good Sales Potential
Product Jan – March Jan – Percentage Import Key Constraints Market
Category 2012 South March of Annual Tariff Over Market Attractiveness for
Africa 2012 U.S. Import Rate Development U.S.
Imports Exports to Growth U.S.
from the S.A.
Whiskies 60 1,487 -11.93 1.54 United Kingdom American brands are
HS220830 (85%) has large lack brand awareness
market share and among South African
a first mover consumers.
Almonds 2.9 2.7 126.90 Free U.S. has largest
HS080212 market share of 92%.
Salmon 331 172 -59.16 25% U.S. has the largest
HS160411 market share of 52%.
Food 42 10 5.44 Varied US has the largest
Preparations market share of 19%.
HS210690 American brands are
given their high
Vegetable 10 2 17.27 Free Netherlands leads
Seeds sector with 26%
HS120991 Market Share,
while US has
Source: World Trade Atlas
B. Products Not Present in Significant Quantities Which Have Good Sales Potential:
Counter seasonal apples, dried grapes, pomegranate, stone fruits, etc
Sweeteners (lactose, glucose and syrup)
Breakfast cereal (corn/grit meat)
Mineral water (natural/artificial/sweetened/flavored)
Fruit and vegetables preparations
Products not currently available or known about in South Africa, such as new food ingredients,
condiments and snack foods
Frozen turkey cuts and edible offal, chicken offal, and frozen swine cuts
C. Products Not Present Because They Face Significant Barriers:
Poultry: United States poultry exports to South Africa are restricted by an anti-dumping duty in tariff
number 0207 14 90 (bone in cuts, include the chicken leg quarters), instituted in 2000, which has caused
imports from the US to drop significantly.
Beef: U.S. beef into South Africa are banned since 2003. There are, however positive signs that the
ban might be lifted in the near future. Importers struggle to compete with local producers because of the
current import duty of 40 percent ad valorem or R2.40/kg except from SADC countries from where
imports are free.
SECTION 5: POST CONTACT AND FURTHER INFORMATION
If you have questions or comments regarding this report or need further assistance, please contact
AgPretoria at the following address:
Office of Agricultural Affairs
U.S. Embassy Pretoria, South Africa
Washington, D.C., 20521-9300
Tel: +27-12-431 4235
Fax: +27-12-342 2264
For more information on exporting U.S. agricultural products to other countries, please visit the Foreign
Agricultural Service’s website at: http://www.fas.usda.gov
Post acknowledges the following Sources: The Euromonitor International, the Retail industry
publications and their websites; the National Statistics of South Africa, trade press, Global Trade
Atlas, and trade industries interviews.