Do men buy more clothing than women?

On average, male-headed households spend more on clothing and footwear than female-headed households (R5 343 and R4 364 per annum in 2015, respectively). This is just one of the findings from the Living Conditions Survey (LCS), released by Statistics South Africa recently. The LCS was conducted between October 2014 and October 2015. The results of this household survey are used to update the weights and basket of goods and services used to calculate the Consumer Price Index and examine poverty levels and patterns. It found that in 2015, the average South African household consisted of 3 to 4 persons, with an average annual income and consumption expenditure of R138 168 and R103 293, respectively.

The finding that male-headed households spend more than female-headed households on clothing and footwear is not unexpected. Male-headed households have a higher average annual income than their female counterparts (R165 853 and R98 911, respectively) and therefore, have greater spending power than female-headed households. Male-headed households spend more across all consumption expenditure categories.

When looking at the total consumption expenditure of South African households, 32,55% of money spent went to housing and utilities. This was the biggest expenditure category, followed by transport at 16,29%, miscellaneous goods and services at 14,68%, and food, beverages and tobacco at 13,75%. Another interesting finding was that, on average, households spent more on recreation and culture (3,81%) than they did on education (2,45%).

The miscellaneous goods and services category includes personal effects, personal care items, social protection, insurance (including that related to the dwelling, health and transport), financial services and other services that have not been classified elsewhere. The health expenditure category, therefore, only covers out-of-pocket health expenses, and not medical aid or insurance, which is why it may seem very low at a national average of R935 per annum.

Taking a closer look at household expenditure on education, we find that households in urban formal areas spent six times more on education than households in other settlement types. This could be as a result of government’s no-fee policy, as most beneficiaries of this policy live in rural, traditional and urban informal settlements. These households, therefore, do not need to dedicate as much of their budget to education as do households in urban formal areas.

These are just a few of the interesting findings from the 2014/15 LCS. For more information please click here.