“South Africans are very brand-conscious, their brand awareness is high, and they like to show what they have and can afford,” says Anita Dietiker, head of the Swiss Business Hub South Africa, summing up the shopping preferences at the southern tip of Africa.
The providers were not long in coming. Many major brands have already successfully established themselves in the market. Mainly in the large malls in the major cities. In Cape Town and Johannesburg, where the Mall of Africa opened its doors this June: With some 300 shops and many flagship stores on 130,000 square meters, it is the largest shopping mall on the continent.
The South African luxury goods market is primarily driven by the rapidly growing middle class and the increasing number of female employees. According to two recent reports by Switzerland Global Enterprise on “The Luxury Fashion Industry in South Africa” and “The Luxury Watch Industry in South Africa”, it is mainly female consumers aged between 30 and 50 that determine the success of the South African luxury fashion market, while in the luxury watch segment it is male buyers over the age of 50.
In South Africa, providers of luxury goods benefit from a comparably good sales and distribution infrastructure. However, even in the luxury goods segment, perseverance and an adequate financial basis are essential in order to be able to successfully gain a foothold in the South African market, which remains high risk.
However, Swiss providers have a significant advantage over their competitors here: This is because “Swissmade” is also a good selling point in South Africa, stresses Suhail El-Obeid, Africa specialist at Switzerland Global Enterprise. However, Swissness alone is not enough. The product must be well known, of outstanding quality, and distinguished by its uniqueness. In other words, it must demonstrate the owner’s social and financial status at a glance.
Read more about the South African luxury goods market, about luxury fashion and luxury watches in the reports: