Then and Now: SA Prices 2014-2024

03 APRIL 2024

Over the last 10 years we have seen some drastic price fluctuations, heavily impacting the cost of living. Everything from petrol prices to everyday household items, as well as takeaways and entertainment, has had a major boost in its pricing, leaving consumers greatly impacted when it comes to their purchasing power. In this article we take a closer look at the comparisons in prices from 2014 to 2024, examining the trends and factors that have influenced this shift.Petrol Prices:

Over the past decade, global petrol prices have seen a significant hike in pricing, and South Africa has not gone unscathed. According to data from the South African Petroleum Industry Association (SAPIA), in 2014, consumers experienced the strain of high petrol prices, driven by elevated global oil prices. This resulted in increased prices at the pump, and virtually everywhere else, as transport costs increased for all retailers.

However, as the decade progressed, South Africans also saw fluctuations in petrol costs driven by domestic factors, a few of these being that of the exchange rate, taxes and government regulations. Another contributing factor to be considered is that of economic conditions, such as the COVID- 19 pandemic, which further impacted petrol demand and prices, leading to periods of both increased and decreased fuel costs.

Looking back, in an article on Business Tech, the cost of petrol per litre back in 2014 would set you back R14.32, while jumping back to today, a litre of petrol will put a bit more of a dent in your pocket, costing you a total of R24.45. This is a whopping 71.19% increase over the last 10 years, and it doesn’t seem like we will get close to those prices again any time soon.

Remember, with RCS you can use your store card or credit card for fuel purchases, which could help you keep the engine running until that month-end deadline.


Household Items:

It’s no surprise that with the increase in petrol prices comes an increase in general items at your local grocery store, due to the logistics of said goods being more costly. This, however, is only one of the contributing factors. According to Statistics South Africa, inflation, exchange rate fluctuations, and supply chain disruptions have all played a role in driving prices up or down for groceries, electronics and other essentials.

A good example of this is the depreciation of the South African Rand against major currencies, leading to a higher cost in the import of goods, including electronics and luxury items. On another note, local production has played a key role in keeping these hikes at a stable point, allowing competition amongst retailers to keep costs at a lower rate for certain domestically produced goods.

Bread and milk are a staple of your everyday grocery shop and, as such, can have a significant impact on your budgets. Mail & Guardian reported in 2015 that a loaf of white bread would set you back around R11 back in 2014, while stats from the National Agricultural Marketing Council Food Monitor showcase that 2l of fresh full-cream milk came in at a cost of R19. If we fast-forward to 2024, milk costs you around R35 for a 2l, while a loaf of white bread is up to R18.59, showcasing significant increases.

Another good indication of these inflated prices is to compare how much you would be paying for your DSTV subscription if we were back in 2014, which would cost you R665.00 for their premium package. Compared to 2024 you will be spending R929.00 for the same package, which is an increase of 39.7%.


Takeaway Foods:

The fast-food industry has seen some significant changes over the last few years, which greatly reflects the shift in consumer preferences and economic conditions. A rise in food delivery services has transformed the takeaway landscape, which offers consumers greater convenience as well as broadening options. However, delivery fees and surcharges have inflated the cost, leaving consumers questioning if the convenience is worth the price.  

Experts also look at the Big Mac Index. This aims to measure whether currencies are priced at the “correct level”, using the Big Mac as a popular food item in order to compare global consistency in pricing. In 2014 a Big Mac at your local McDonald’s would cost you R23.50, while in 2024 you will be paying R51.90, this is an increase of a massive 120.86%.

The past decade has seen South African consumers navigate through fluctuations in petrol prices, household items, and takeaway food expenses, to mention but a few. At present, the outlook post the Covid era still looks tough, and it is likely that things will get worse before they get better. Let’s hope that the next decade brings in that turning point, and better times will arrive just over the horizon.

Remember though that if you’re struggling with basics like groceries, petrol or anything else, your RCS card will usually get you through a tough patch and at up to 55 days’ interest-free repayments.