How consumers engage in different forms of media may reflect more about their happiness than you think. Are optimists avid news-readers or cinephiles? We examine how South Africans feel about the future.

South African consumers maintain an optimistic attitude about their personal futures. When it comes to the future of the country, however, consumers have mixed feelings.

We identify three groups of consumers:

  • the optimists,
  • the pessimists and
  • those who feel a bit insecure.

Expressing a strong sense of individualism, 64% of consumers feel optimistic about their personal futures.  Future South Africa presents unsure prospects to 37% of consumers and doom for the pessimistic 37%, but an optimistic 27% of consumers are holding out for hope. Compared to all other population groups, black people are twice as likely to be positive about the country’s future.

This is not to say that race in any way determines happiness, but our perceptions of our place within South Africa may shape our outlook on the future.

Consider a few stats from BrandMapp South Africa – a sample of more than 25,000 urban upmarket South Africans.

If you are a non-smoker, you are 8% more likely to be an optimist. If you feel optimistic about your financial development, you are 30% more likely to be optimistic about your personal future than those who feel worse off.

What are the media habits of optimists?

  • Metro FM listeners are one and a half times more optimistic about South Africa’s future than 5 FM listeners
  • To feed their love of film, 40% of optimists watch movies at the cinema and 67% watch movies on TV
  • Half of optimistic consumers rarely, if ever, buy magazines
  • One third of optimists say they do not read any newspapers. This does not mean they are uniformed, they find their news online. To find information, optimists look online for health queries (18%), travel info (33%), news updates (40%), weather reports (28%) and product reviews (21%).