Journal of Consumer Sciences

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Modifying monthly household expenditure allocations: An exploration of South African BoP consumers

J Lappeman, JM Chigada, P Pillay


This study explored the reasons behind monthly changes in expenditure allocation in bottom of the pyramid (BoP) consumer households. To date, no research has explored the specific dynamics driving monthly modification of consumer expenditure in this segment. The qualitative data were collected through a panel of interviews conducted with 80 BoP households in four South African provinces over a period of four monthly waves. The research yielded a set of eight clear themes that describe monthly expenditure modifications. These themes included: trading groceries for entertainment or eating out; seasonal effects; recovery after income shocks; inter-month budgetary trade-offs; once off expense with ripple effect; business-home expense trade-off and informal savings effects. The range of behaviours were mainly driven by financial constraints and the pressure of scarcity. The study findings further our understanding of BoP consumer behaviour in a South African context.

AJOL African Journals Online