As the January wave of back-to-school spending ramps up, it’s time for consumers to join retailers in turning the page on South Africa’s economic malaise by shifting focus to locally made stationery and school-wear, says Proudly South African Chief Marketing Officer Happy MaKhumalo Ngidi.
“Job losses and pandemic-induced economic shocks have placed enormous financial strain on businesses and households over the past two years. But the silver lining is that ongoing supply chain disruptions and rising shipping costs have forced top retailers to accelerate the move to local procurement to maintain their competitive advantage. This in turn has exposed buyers to a wide range of high quality, great value local alternatives available at bargain prices, helping families stretch their hard-earned rands a little further,” she notes.
For example, The Foschini Group (TFG) now sources 72% of its clothing apparel locally, and further plans to invest another R575 million towards expanding its South African manufacturing capacity with the aim of producing 30 million local garments a year within the next four years. As TFG is the new home of value chain Jet, this represents a convenient option for price-conscious parents seeking deals on generic school uniform items such as grey shorts, white shirts, school jerseys and socks.
Likewise, some 35% of clothing chain Mr Price’s merchandise is sourced locally, up from 31% in 2015. With its wide range of Proudly South African back-to-school apparel and backpacks, this means another competitive locally manufactured choice for value-focussed families.
“But as shoppers, it’s now time to do our part by showing our support for South African products, and directing our money towards local businesses and local jobs in order to invest in a better future for our country. This begins with something as simple as back-to-school shopping, which is the perfect time to set the example for our children by showing our national pride and responsibility to job creation and to sustaining jobs,” she emphasises.
“As Proudly South African, we are therefore calling on all South African consumers to make buying local your New Year’s resolution, and join together to turn the tide on unemployment.”
Design a ‘buy local’ poster competition
To kick off 2022 in Proudly South African style, the organisation has launched a social media competition offering children the chance to win a locally-made school bag, lunch box and selection of stationery by designing a poster that shows consumers why they should by locally made goods.
To stand a chance of winning these fun prizes, learners or their parents should share the poster on social media tagging Proudly South African and using #DesignAnAd, #BackToSchool and #BuyLocalToCreateJobs and state their age and grade.
“The New Year is the perfect time for children and families to join and celebrate the best of what our country has to offer. Through this competition, we hope to place our youth’s talent on display, as well as remind South Africans of the vital importance of working together to build a better future for all.”
For a closer look at the Proudly South African back-to-school items on offer, shoppers can visit the Proudly South African Festive Season Gift Guide. The Living Lekker Locally video showcasing the very best of South African-made goods can also be viewed here: https://youtu.be/VfTw3m70ON0.