shop-sa hosts AGM

The shop-sa AGM was held via Zoom on Thursday 21 October 2021.

Hans Servas, chairman of the board, opened the meeting and invited guest speaker, David Shapiro, to begin.

Shapiro gave a talk entitled The Chips are Down. In the talk, he highlighted the perhaps surprising positive global outlook for the next five years. What drives the positivity is the huge growth in technology, as shown by Dutch company ASML.

Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture, said in an interview that there are thousands of businesses in the US that still have to migrate to the cloud to achieve efficiencies, migrate to a more accessible flexible tech. In general, it would appear that global businesses are positive about growth in the future.

The current negativity around semiconductors aside, by the end of the decade they see semiconductor sales at $1-trillion, despite the shortage that we hear about. This is because of the continual rise of IoT, electric cars and the many devices in modern society that use chips.

The global economy is heading in the right direction, but precise modelling is very difficult. Shapiro warned people to be wary of forecasts in the time being; no one knows how the world economy are going to get out the situation. The last 18 months have impacted people and businesses across the board.

In general, South African CEOs appear to have a positive outlook, and the demand for many industries is either steady or growing. However, government needs to come to the party and keep its promises.

The crisis that we faced when we went into lockdown was a health crisis, and not a financial one. The markets did not reflect a financial crisis as it was a government-induced slowdown.
This could have been a moment for global co-operation, but it unfortunately wasn’t as people went insular instead of co-operative. However, central banks did pump money into the global economy.
People are extending their savings, and thus there is an extreme level of demand. Consumers are spending money on things and global trade is surging.

In closing, Shapiro urges businesses not to give up hope that things will improve – particularly during the festive period.

The AGM reached quorum and confirmation of the minutes of 2020 was given.

The report-back on the year that was is outlined below:

  1. The weekly My Office News newsletter, sent to a large database of trade and end-users, and the monthly Trade News newsletter, both showed increased readership. The aim is to keep the industry informed of any development which could affect business.
    Rob Mathews’ report-back will provide details.
    Unfortunately, advertising revenue dropped further and with it shop-sa’s income.
  2. The Product Source Guide is still well supported but could be utilised even more by suppliers, especially new entrants.
    Critical, but not used, is the Crime Alert. With theft and corruption continuing unabated, this is a “must” for the industry.
  3. Surveys in 2020/21The result of our State of the Industry survey was published in June 2020, providing valuable insights into the impact “lock-downs” were having on our industry. Not a pretty picture, but most survived!In October 2020, shop-sa conducted another important survey, BTS 20/21 Expectations as a Result of Covid, which was followed by the Results survey in April.
    Both had a representative response and confirmed that expectations were realistic, i.e. turnover at around 75% of last year.
    It also highlighted the fact that the delay of returning to school impacted on the product mix.
  4. In May 2021, we published the revised OPI report to members. It showed that the impact of the pandemic was similar globally.
  5. Live events were not possible due to the various restrictions, although the response even during normal times was always disappointing.
  6. In March 2021, the board held a strategy meeting to discuss ways of how to revitalise and save the association and My Office.
    Rob Matthews presented a proposal to develop a platform to hold virtual trade shows and other events to provide a much needed boost to the finances of both. The board felt that even at a high cost the project was worth it and gave the go ahead. In June/July the first virtual trade show, the shop-sa Expo, was ready to be launched with a planned date of 19 August.
    Then the riots happened and we had no choice but to postpone, hoping for calm to return.
    It did, and the date was moved to the 1 September. Even though this will form part of the 2021/22 report, it is important to know how successful the event was: 13 exhibitors, including Kolok as Platinum Sponsor, attracted 2 347 unique visitors and 5 487 visits to the various exhibits (both live and static) and video presentations. Surely this must entice more suppliers and brands to come on board the next time.
  7. Local and global challenges remain, such as rebuilding the destruction in KZN and Gauteng. Luckily “only” a few stationery outlets were affected. Globally the breakdown of supply chains and shortages of semiconductors and other commodities will be felt for some time to come, not to mention other factors like “work from home”, POPIA, and the CNA business rescue.
  8. shop-sa finances
    It should be noted, that the board made the decision some time age to use the funds of the association to keep it going, hoping that the various activities and initiatives will result in the industry becoming more involved, not only financially.
    Membership showed a small increase but the income only contributes a small portion to the overall revenue.
    If a larger number of business were to join, at least break-even would be possible.
    Advertising revenue dropped again reducing income even more.
    Expenses have been kept as low as possible but cannot be reduced further.

Rob Matthews of My Office News gave a presentation on the growth of the publication, highlighting the success of initiatives like the inaugural virtual trade show.

Board elections took place. The board remains as it is, and members are as follows:

  • Hans Servas – Chairman
  • Bill Bayley
  • Allan Thompson
  • Clive Heydenrych
  • Lars Smith
  • Mark Penhall


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