When it comes to South Africa’s lucrative LSM 8-10 segment, two language groups make up the lion’s share of this market. How do these two sought-after groups of consumers stack up against each other? Megan Chronis finds out.
Together, the English and Afrikaans-speaking communities deliver over 60% of South Africa’s LSM 8-10 market, and account for more than 60% of those households earning R20 000 or more a month.
A fraction shy of one third of all LSM 8-10s call English their home language, according to SAARF AMPS Dec 11 (Jan-Dec 2011). Numbering 2.723 million, this group is the largest in the LSM 8-10 sector, but is also the most culturally heterogeneous. The majority of English-speaking LSM 8-10s are white (53.4%), while 23.1% are Indian, 12.9% are coloured, and 10.6% are black, making for a real melting pot of cultures.
In comparison, the Afrikaans LSM 8-10 market, which numbers 2.496-million and accounts for 30.5%, is made up mostly of whites (74.5%) and Coloureds (24.8%).
While the English upper LSM sector is a heterogeneous group, it’s more geographically concentrated than the Afrikaans. English LSM 8-10s are very definitely clustered into South Africa’s three powerhouse provinces, which together are home to over 90% of this language group: Gauteng, home to 39.6%, KwaZulu-Natal (30.5%) and the Western Cape (21.1%).
The Afrikaans top end however, is more scattered. While 63.8% live in two main provinces – the Western Cape (32.0%) and Gauteng (31.8%) – over a third of Afrikaans speaking LSM 8-10s can be found spread across the other seven provinces.
Moving on to education and employment: in general, the English top end is slightly more represented in tertiary education than the Afrikaans. Compare the 13.3% of English-speaking LSM 8-10 adults aged 25+ having a university degree, with the 9.1% of Afrikaans speakers of the same age and LSM. When it comes to technikon qualifications in the LSM 8-10, 25+ market, 17.1% of English speakers have a diploma, compared to 13.5% of Afrikaans speakers. Overall, 15.2% of LSM 8-10 English speakers are students, with the Afrikaans group 3% points lower.
Employment levels also show a slight skew towards the English. Fractionally more English-speaking adults aged 25+ in LSM 8-10 work full-time compared to Afrikaans: 50.4% versus 48.2%. A further 6.2% of English LSM 8-10 adults aged 25+ work part-time, as do 5.7% of Afrikaans speakers. Self-employment is more prevalent in the upper LSM English-speaking 25+ base, where 19.7% are their own masters, compared to 15.2% of the Afrikaans market.
When it comes to household income, just under a third of all those households earning over R20 000 a month are English speaking, while just under a quarter are Afrikaans speaking. Forty percent of Afrikaans-speaking households earn upwards of R11 000 a month, while the same goes for 50.8% of English-speaking homes.
The things they do
Despite their differences, Afrikaans- and English-speaking LSM 8-10s enjoy doing similar things. SAARF Activities shows that the number one monthly activity for both groups is eating out: 51% of English-speaking LSM 8-10s eat out every month, as do 44% of Afrikaans-speaking LSM 8-10s. Both groups put braai-ing in second, visiting a hair salon in third, and shopping for pleasure in fourth, although these last two activities are more predominant amongst English speakers (Source: SAARF AMPS Dec 11).
Media across the language divide
The Afrikaans upper-end’s choice in print and radio shows that this group is at once more bilingual than its English counterpart and has decidedly less choice when it comes to media products in its own language.
According to AMPS Dec 11, four out of 10 of the top magazines in the Afrikaans-speaking LSM 8-10 group’s repertoire are English titles: Speed & Sound, Car, TV Plus and You (which features in tenth position despite its sister title, Huisgenoot, dominating in this market).
The top five magazines for Afrikaans-speaking LSM 8-10s are Huisgenoot (read by 43.7%), skottel (30.6%), Sarie (13.1%), rooi rose (12.3%) and TV Plus (10.1%).
For English speaking 8-10s, the top five consists of Dish (32.7%), You (27.6%), People (14.8%), TV Plus (10.3%) and Car (9.5%).
When it comes to newspapers, two of the top 10 Afrikaans upper-end reads are English: Daily Voice and the Sunday Times, the latter being this market’s fifth-most-read newspaper, with a reach of 7.5%. Leading by a wide margin however, is Rapport, which reaches 31.3% of this market, followed by Beeld (12.1%), Son (11.4%) and Die Burger (8.4%).
Sunday Times, like Rapport in the Afrikaans market, leads the pack by a significant margin in the English top-LSM sector, reaching 29.4%. Number two, Sunday Tribune, commands only 10.3% of this market by comparison, with Post (Wednesday) at 7.7%, The Star at 7.6% and Daily Sun at 6.2%.
As in print, the Afrikaans-speaking market has a mixed-language repertoire of radio stations, according to SAARF RAMS February 2012. Afrikaans station RSG tops out with a 30.5% reach, followed by bilingual station Jacaranda 94.2 at 21.6%. In positions three and four are the English stations 94.7 Highveld Stereo (11.6%) and 5FM (9.8%), with another bilingual station – 94.5 KFM (9.1%) – in fifth place.
In the English camp, it’s East Coast Radio in pole position with 20.8% reach, followed by 5FM (18.9%), 94.7 Highveld Stereo (14.9%), Talk Radio 702 (9.1%) and 94.5 KFM (8.9%).
And finally, to television. There is one clear preference if you want to reach the Afrikaans LSM 8-10s, and that’s SABC2. Apart from three Vodacom Super Rugby matches broadcast on SuperSport 1, the rest of this market’s top 10 shows in March 2012 were broadcast on SABC2.
According to SAARF TAMS, the top show was ‘7de Laan’, watched by 22.9% of the Afrikaans LSM 8-10 TV-watching audience in March 2012. ‘Noot vir Noot’ drew 21.1%, ‘Soutmansland’ pulled 19%, with the Afrikaans news at 18.7% and ‘Pasella’ at 18.1%.
Four of the top shows in the English 8-10 market were e.tv movies, with SABC3 and SABC2 broadcasting the remaining six top-10 shows. Unlike the Afrikaans market, the top-ranking shows in the English 8-10 market drew significantly lower ratings. Whereas the top Afrikaans show commanded over 20% of viewers, the top English show – ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’ on e.tv – only pulled 7.7%. Similarly ‘Isidingo’ (7.5%), ‘Survivor Samoa’ (7.3%), and the movies ‘Volcano’ (7.0%) and ‘White Chicks’ (6.9%) had substantially lower ratings than shows in the equivalent ranking on the Afrikaans top-five list.
What some have called loyalty when it comes to the Afrikaans market could well be rather a symptom of the more limited choice of Afrikaans media, relative to English-language media, whether it comes to print, radio or television.
This sees the Afrikaans market being concentrated across a smaller selection of media brands and programmes, while the wide choice found in the English market serves to fragment the English-speaking LSM 8-10 audience.
This story was first published in the June 2012 issue ‘Die Media’, a special edition of magazine dedicated to Afrikaans media.
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