Tag: Christmas

SA festive spend predicted to hit over R250bn

Source: Supermarket & Retailer

Research by short-term lender, Wonga, has revealed that South Africans will each incur an average of R6 585 in festive expenses this summer, over and above their usual budgeted expenses.

Based on Statistics SA’s mid-year population size estimates, working aged South Africans are set to pump R254-billion into the economy, an increase of 24% from last year.

As part of Wonga’s Festive Spending Survey, almost 6 000 South Africans shared what they plan on doing these holidays, who they plan on doing it with and how much they intend to spend.

“Our research revealed that 60% of people think they’ll spend more this festive season than they did in 2018, despite the tough economic climate. However, rather than turning to debt, the majority have either saved throughout the year or plan on using their end of year bonuses to manage the extra expense,” explains James Williams, Head of Marketing at Wonga.

This is Wonga’s second annual Festive Spending Survey and, when compared to last year’s findings, reveals that South Africans intend on spending an average of R880 more than they did last year. This includes costs such as gifts, holidays, entertainment, transport, food and drink.

Festive budgets

The research revealed that 76% of South Africans spend more than usual over the festive season, with food and drink taking up 37% of most budgets at an average cost of R2 430 per person. This is followed by gifts which account for approximately 20% of festive budgets, with South Africans forking out over R1 200 to spoil their loved ones.

In total, respondents expect to spend an average of R6 585 each, which is almost half (46%) of the average South African’s ‘take home pay’. This is based on Bankserv Africa’s latest index, according to which South Africans take home an average of R14 385 each, after tax. This represents a significant increase from 2018, when festive budgets made up just a third of the average ‘take home pay’.

Half of the respondents indicated that they dislike the pressure to spend money over the festive season. To cope with the extra expense, the majority (45%) plan to draw from their end-of year-bonuses, or dip into their savings (42%) or stokvels (25%). Only a small portion plan on either taking out a loan (17%) or spending money on their credit cards (11%) to get them through the holidays.

Travel plans

Only one in three South Africans have festive season travel planned this year, a 5% drop from 2018, with most people (33%) citing the cost of travel as their main reason for staying home followed by work commitments (27%).

Of those leaving home for the holidays, Durban emerged as the most popular holiday destination for the second year running, followed by Cape Town. Most people (58%) will be travelling to visit family or friends, with only a small portion visiting places because they offer peace and quiet (17%) or natural beauty (12%). The bad news for those hoping to avoid traffic chaos this year is that the vast majority (60%) plan on travelling by car.

Festive gifting

Nine in ten South Africans plan on buying gifts this festive season and, while the majority (83%) plan on spoiling their family, 22% also plan on buying themselves a gift this Christmas. At the top of most people’s Christmas lists, money (34%) and vouchers (26%) emerged as the firm favourites again this year.

Although the popularity of traditional stores has declined by 6% since 2018, 75% of shoppers still prefer to visit brick and mortar stores in search of gifts, with only 13% planning to do their shopping online.

Festive celebrations

78% of South Africans’ favourite way to celebrate the festive season is by spending time with loved ones. Having a braai emerged as the most loved festive tradition for 47% of respondents, making it 10% more popular than a traditional Christmas roast.

Only 57% of South Africans have work parties or functions planned to mark the end of the year and the vast majority look forward to celebrating with their colleagues. However, for 18% this excitement is replaced with indifference either because they find their year-end functions boring (35%), don’t enjoy socialising with their work mates (20%) or resent having to spend money on gifts, clothing or food for the occasion (24%).

“It’s clear that most South Africans have a bumper festive season planned and, while it’s great to see so much holiday cheer, people should be careful not to get swept away in the excitement and wind up spending more than they can afford. Remember, the best gift that you can give to yourself and your loved ones is starting the new year on a strong financial footing,” concludes Williams.

Quick facts:

  • Festive spending to increase by 24% this year, with South Africans budgeting an average of R6 585 each over this period.
  • Just under half of working South Africans rely on a thirteenth cheque or bonus to tide them over the festive season.
  • Two thirds of South Africans won’t travel this festive season, with most claiming it is too expensive.
  • 50% of South Africans don’t like the pressure to spend money during the festive season.
  • Durban is still the most popular holiday destination amongst South Africans.
  • Despite the popularity of traditional shops dropping by 6% from 2018, 75% of South Africans still prefer brick and mortar stores to buying Christmas gifts online.
  • Money and vouchers remain the most popular gifts for 60% of South Africans.
  • South Africa’s favourite way to celebrate the festive season is with their family and friends.

Retailers must prepare for cybercrime spikes

Retailers are increasingly coming under attack by cybercriminals, and there is little wonder why. They process payments on oftentimes unprotected Point of Sale (POS) systems, transfer large sums of money, and store and process sensitive customer information, such as banking and card information. They also process more online banking and card transactions. Cybercrime attacks on retail businesses tend to spike over the festive season, starting with Black Friday and Cyber Monday when transactions spike dramatically.

Protecting customers’ payment information at every stage of the payment process is vital. Point-to-Point encryption is becoming more critical as it facilitates secure communication channels between devices and company servers, and so protects payment data in transit. POS systems should be designed to encrypt sensitive data from credit cards the moment information is received and again when it is sent to the payment server, such as passwords, configurations and other critical confidential data. The Payment Card Industry’s Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) increases the governance around cardholder data to reduce credit card fraud. Many banks urge organisations to be PCI DSS compliant to have the right to make credit card payments. Review systems regularly to make sure these standards are followed.

“Most cyber-attacks on retail companies happen in the e-commerce space. However, in-store POS systems are not immune to the treats. With Black Friday around the corner and the festive season looming, it is a boom time for cybercriminals. Retailers must be aware and implement strategies to guard their businesses, both online and in-store,” says Charl Ueckermann, CEO at AVeS Cyber Security.

According to Ueckermann, AVeS Cyber Security has encountered numerous organisations that have limited to no protection on POS devices. This has a direct impact on cyber security for organisations because most times, the POS and corporate systems run on the same infrastructure and network. What this means is that when a POS system is compromised, a network breach can occur for the corporate network as well, leading to confidential client information breaches.

“Protecting POS systems, therefore, requires a multi-faceted and multi-layered approach. You want a highly-effective detection and protection tool to identify and remedy vulnerabilities proactively. The solution should have anti-virus capabilities specifically designed for POS systems. You also want to ensure that the POS software itself is up to date to the latest version, at all times. This is especially important for high transaction times, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.”

POS systems are vulnerable to attack when they are old or outdated because the software would not have been designed with today’s modern-day hackers in mind, making them vulnerable and susceptible to malicious code. Attacks on POS systems are becoming quite sophisticated, and cybercriminals are known to use both hardware and software to hijack payment card information and steal business data. Malware targeting POS systems is common and is one of the many ways to steal payment card details. Malware is used to obtain sensitive information, and in some cases, to even steal money directly from bank accounts.

“Your security technology should be able to detect malware, tampering, rooted/jailbroken POS devices, and more. The security stack should include a feature that proactively alerts retailers and POS providers when it is not safe to use the POS devices for making payments or performing other electronic transactions. If not, your system and your business will be vulnerable,” stresses Ueckermann.

Attackers also exploit mobile POS applications to steal personal and sensitive information that is used to make fraudulent purchases. This can result in big financial losses and damage to credit reputations for unsuspecting customers, and worse still, identity theft.

The backend of mobile applications can also be used by cybercriminals to compromise POS systems as well as the majority of business transactions that are processed on the server’s side. This gives them a way into internal business systems. Once the attacker gets inside the network or central system of POS vendors or retailers, they are able to access the compromised POS application as well as other POS applications used by the retailer in other locations. Attacking the entry point at the backend is a common attacking method, and Ueckermann says countless large-scale security breaches have been caused by this method.

He concludes: “The onus is on retailers to do the due diligence to protect their customers and data against cyber-attacks over the holiday shopping season and beyond. Strategies and measures should be in place to provide a safe and secure experience for customers online and in-store.

“Card and online payment processes should be secured and encrypted, controls should be in place to check and ensure the integrity of handheld POS devices, and mobile payment systems should be subjected to regular patches, updates, and equipment upgrades to protect against continually evolving threats.”

10 cute Christmas crafts to do with toddlers

By Crystal Bassler for Moms.com

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Every child’s head is filled with thoughts of Santa and what presents might end up underneath the tree. Meanwhile, parents are buzzing around like bees trying to get things ready so that they can have the perfect Christmas. There is no doubt about the fact that the holidays can be stressful, so why not take a break, sit down, and do some fun crafts with your little ones to get the most out of this Christmas?

Doing crafts with your little ones will create memories that they will always have and keepsakes that you can store away for when they are older. This is great bonding time and the perfect opportunity to explore your crafty side. Take a look at these 10 cute Christmas crafts that are perfect for toddlers.

Fingerprint Christmas lights

Fingerprint Christmas lights are a fun and easy Christmas craft for kids of any age. This craft is super easy to do and requires very little supplies. Go to your local crafts store and grab some finger paint and some construction paper and then you are good to go.

Simply let your child pick out the color of construction paper that they want, what color paints they wish to use, and give them a space to work on that you don’t mind getting messy. Let them dip their fingertips in the paint and get creative with their lights as seen in the picture above.

Paper plate Santa

This is another craft that is super easy and great for young children to do. For this one all you will need is some markers, a paper plate, cotton balls, and some glue. Have your child simply color in the top of the plate red for Santa’s hat, make two eyes, and a nose.

You will then have your child glue one cotton ball at the top of his hat and then a bunch of cotton balls on the bottom of the plate making Santa’s beard. This is a cute craft that you can store away and keep forever.

Construction paper tree

This is a simple craft you can do with your toddler that requires very few supplies. You’ll need green construction paper, a pencil, scissors, and some sequins. If your kids are younger, they may need some help with the cutting, so stay close by and offer them help as needed.

Simply trace out the pattern of a tree on the green construction paper, cut it out, take the glue, and start decorating! Super easy, fun, and adorable. As with many of the crafts on this list, be sure to pack it away and treasure it forever.

Reindeer masks

Reindeer masks are super fun and easy to make, not to mention the fact that your child can wear it on Christmas instead of it just being something that they put on the fridge to look at. For this fun craft, you will need scissors, construction paper, ribbon, and of course, some glue.

Cut out the shape of a mask, you might need to measure your child’s face to do so. Let your child then help make the antlers, nose, and ears. When all of that is done glue some ribbon to both sides so that your child can put on the mask.

DIY ornaments

If you don’t feel like investing in expensive ornaments that might end up broken, then this one might be a fantastic idea for you. Have your children make their own paper ornaments, get some string, and let them hang the ornaments from the tree. To do this you will need a ton of construction paper of all different colors, scissors, a hole puncher, and some string.

Simply cut out the shape of a typical ornament, punch a hole in the top, tie a string through the hole, and have your kids decorate them however they would like to before hanging them on the tree.

DIY snow globe

The next cute Christmas craft on our list might get a little bit tricky, but it is super cool when finished. For this, you will need two paper plates, sequins, markers, a stapler, and some saran wrap. Have your toddler color on the inside of one of the plates, be it a Christmas tree or a snowman.

While they are doing that you will want to cut out the middle of the other plate and tightly wrap Glad wrap around to cover the hole. When your child is done with that have them sprinkle the sequins on the plate that they coloured then staple the two plates together.

Pinecone Christmas tree

This Christmas craft we like to think of as the Christmas equivalent of easter eggs. To do this you will need pinecones, paint, paintbrushes, some of those little pom pom balls, and some glue from your local craft store.

To start, have your children paint the pinecones after they dry your kids will then glue the pom poms on as if they are ornaments, and if you want to make them shine feel free to add some glitter for a little extra fun. These could look really neat as a centerpiece for the table at Christmas dinner.

Toilet paper roll snowman

Who doesn’t love building snowmen? Everyone does of course, but what happens what it doesn’t snow and your kids are feeling bummed out about not being able to make a snowman? Well, we have the next best thing for them.

Gather up the rolls to empty toilet paper rolls, tape some white paper around them, push some small twigs inside of it for the arms, and use cotton balls, pom poms, and markers to decorate your snowman. It might not be as good as the real deal, but it sure is fun to make.

Fingerprint Santa sleigh

This craft is very similar to the fingerprint Christmas lights. Break out your construction paper and let your kiddos pick out whatever colour they want.

When that is done, you’ll want to get out the finger paint and allow them to use their thumbprints to make the Santa, and the reindeer and three prints together to make the sleigh. A small paintbrush would then take care of the rest. This would be an adorable craft to add to your fridge for all to see.

Construction paper puppets

This next craft is especially fun because once you are done making it you can put on a show! Construction paper puppets are relatively easy to make and all you will need it scissors, tape, glue, and of course construction paper. To do this you will want to staple two pieces of paper together leaving a hole for your little one’s hand to fit inside of.

You will then use the additional construction paper to turn the puppets into fun things like Santa and his reindeer or even an elf. After the puppet is done, have your little one put on a show for you using them.

Source: Supermarket & Retailer

Criminals will likely target the influx of shoppers bustling to get their festive season shopping done over the next few weeks, says Charnel Hattingh, national marketing and communications manager at Fidelity ADT.

Hattingh said that shoppers should particularly cautious of follow-home attacks.

“We are urging all shoppers to be vigilant at malls and shopping centres and to be aware that we generally see a spike in follow-home incidents at this time of year,” she said.

In most cases shoppers are followed home from the malls and hijacked in their driveways.

“Criminals are aware these shoppers have a car full of newly-purchased items and are generally easy, distracted targets.”

“If you suspect you are being followed drive immediately to your nearest police station or security provider guardhouse,” Hattingh said.

Fidelity ADT said drivers should also remember general hijacking safety tips such as waiting in the road for the gate to open before driving in, and making sure the gate is closed properly behind the vehicle before getting out.

Safety tips at malls

“When in the mall or centre carry as little as possible in your handbag or pockets and rather leave unnecessary bank or store cards and large amounts of cash at home,” said Hattingh.

“A packed clothing store or supermarket is the prime hunting-ground for a pick-pocket or bag-snatcher. And, never leave a handbag, purse or wallet in a trolley.

“If you don’t use a bag or do not take one along, keep your wallet or purse in the front pocket of your jacket or trousers. Criminals are also targeting phones so make sure your phone is out of sight either in a zipped-up bag or in a front pocket.”

“If you are drawing large amounts of cash, take someone along to keep watch while you are at the ATM and to keep a lookout for any suspicious individuals or vehicles on the way home. If you can avoid drawing large sums of cash, do so. Electronic payments are the safer route,” she said.

Your safety outside the mall is just as important as it is inside, Fidelity ADT said.

“Before you exit the mall, have your keys ready so that no time is wasted to get your purchases and yourself into the car. This also means that you’ll be able to hold onto your handbag as you walk. If someone does try to snatch your handbag, let it go. Do not resist or fight back,” Hattingh said.

Lastly, she suggested avoiding shopping late at night.

“While the idea of a quieter shopping mall may seem appealing, you are more vulnerable in the car parks, mall bathrooms and the likes. If you have no other choice, be vigilant and report any suspicious individuals to the mall security.”

By Lisa Bowman for Metro
Image credit: Wrapt

Last year it was estimated that Brits would throw out 108-million rolls of Christmas wrapping paper. That’s a lot of waste.

Even the most well-intentioned of us may be unaware that the wrap we put in recycling isn’t actually recyclable, if it contains plastic, dye, foil, glitter or leftover sticky tape.

Most of us aren’t prepared to hand people unwrapped gifts – where’s the joy in that? – so thankfully there are eco-friendly wrapping routes we can take.

Most of them are so chic they’ll make it look like Pinterest threw up under your tree.

Recycled brown paper
Brown paper is one of your cheapest options, and yet has the most potential to look impressive – you just have to get crafty. You can get recycled brown paper at your local Post Office.
Limited budget/don’t have time to mess about with ribbons and foliage? Make it your own with wooden stamps.

Go DIY with old fabric
Got old Christmas tablecloths lying around the house? Christmas tea towels? Feel like making the most of the kitsch Christmas patterns in your local fabric shop? Wrap your presents in it!

Secure it by tying a knot as a bow, or by using eco twine or cut-up fabric as ribbon. Just ensure you get the fabric back to use again if the recipient doesn’t plan to use it.

Reusable fabric gift bags/bottle bags
Gift bags and bottle bags are such a waste – as soon as the gift’s been taken out, they’re usually chucked in the rubbish.
Did you know you can buy reusable fabric versions?
Sure, they’re expensive, but they’re made from 45% recycled fabric, and the maker promises that they’re durable enough to last a lifetime.
You just need to make sure you gift them to someone who’ll actualy re-use them.

Use magazines or newspaper
Chances are, you’ve got some old newspaper or magazines lying around the house – instead of chucking these straight in your recycling bin, why not give them a detour? A new life as gift wrap?

Obviously make sure the stories printed in the publication are, er, appropriate.

Regular wrap – make sure it’s recycled and recyclable
If you’re not into any of the above options, and simply want a more eco version of your usual minimal effort wrapping paper, then all is not lost.

All you have to do is make sure your gift wrap is recycled, and that it’s recyclable. Obviously this option is quite expensive and unless you’re made of money, they’re not likely to be an option for those who have a million kids’ presents to wrap.
So, if all else fails – at least make sure the wrap you use is fully recyclable, if it’s not made from recycled content itself.

Reuse old wrapping paper and gift bags
My mum used to laboriously pick off the sellotape from gifts and save the wrapping paper to use again. As a child, I thought she’d lost her mind but now, I see where she was coming from.
Keep a stash of old wrapping paper and gift/bottle bags, and save up ribbons and bows from gifts throughout the year.
They can cost a lot of money as well as the earth, so you may as well make the most of them!

Don’t forget your decorations
Shun the landfill fodder that is regular plastic ribbon – jazz it up with environmentally-friendly twine instead. Honestly, it looks super twee.
You can even make bows and ribbon out of old newspaper. Go full-on Pinterest by using cinnamon and foraged pine cones/foliage.
If you’re using brown paper, forget gift tags and simply write your message directly on the paper, or make gift
tags out of scrap card.
Plastic sticky tape can’t be recycled, so use an eco version like paper packing tape.
Happy gift wrapping!

The impact of Brexit could make for a gloomy Christmas for retailers after latest indications of a slowdown in the sector ahead of the festive period.

Retail Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the retail sector, said its Retail Monitor for the third quarter of this year showed a fall in consumer sentiment and a slowing down in sales.

Retail Ireland said the Government now needed to prioritise support for the sector and take steps to ensure shifts in currency do not hamper the economic recovery and the jobs associated with it. Adding a warning over wages, it said there needed to be “a renewed effort is needed to keep labour, energy, regulatory and insurance costs in line”.

Retail Ireland director Thomas Burke said: “While sales values grew by 1.1% in the third quarter of the year when compared with the same period last year, the steady decline in growth rates quarter on quarter is a cause for concern.
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“The 23% slump in the value of sterling since the beginning of the year has prompted more consumers to travel North to shop, with new figures also showing a surge in online shopping in the months following the UK vote. Central Bank statistics show that e-commerce transactions recorded on Irish debit and credit cards jumped by 20% from €1bn to €1.2bn between July and September as sterling fell. This was way above trend and is likely to have mostly gone to UK based online retailers.”

He said the Irish retail sector was working to adjust its prices even though it was still selling products that were purchased at a much different exchange rate a number of months ago.

Mr Burke said retailers were squeezed by consumers demanding price reductions and UK-based suppliers seeking price increases.

In department stores, despite total sales values increasing by 1.5% compared to Q3 last year and total sales volumes rising 2.3% over the same quarter last year, the devalued sterling exchange rate has driven Irish shoppers across the border and online to UK-based websites, while there has been a decline in UK tourist spend.

The pharmacy sector grew by 1% in value terms and 1.3% in volume in Q3 compared to last year, but RI said the overall growth was driven by modest prescription volume growth and strong over the counter healthcare sales due to an extended hay fever season.

The third quarter was broadly positive for the DIY and hardware stores, but the books, newspaper and stationery market was disappointing with CSO data suggesting the market was down 5% in both volume and value. As for supermarkets and convenience stores, sales values and volumes were up 2.5% and 3.1% versus last year.

Meanwhile, a dispute between the the Musgrave group and Unilever is over.

The country’s largest grocery group and Unilever had been at loggerheads over pricing but in a joint statement both said: “Following a satisfactory conclusion to recent commercial discussions, Musgrave and Unilever are pleased to confirm that supply of all Unilever products to all Musgrave stores recommenced on Monday.”

By Noel Baker for www.irishexaminer.com

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