Trade contributes to 15% of GDP Trade contributes to 15% of GDP
Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) has revealed that not only did the trade industry contribute to 15% of South Africa’s 2015 GDP, but it is... Trade contributes to 15% of GDP

Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) has revealed that not only did the trade industry contribute to 15% of South Africa’s 2015 GDP, but it is also the biggest employer in the formal business sector.

A report released on Thursday by StatsSA shows that the trade industry contributed to 22% of employment. Industry players surveyed include the accommodation industry, food and beverages, motor and retail as well as the wholesale trade industry.

“Our role as StatsSA is to interpret the numbers to assist those who develop policy. The data is there but policy must assist to get out of the quagmire that is unemployment,” said Statistician General Pali Lehohla.

The survey looked at the private and public enterprises registered for valued-added tax and presented estimates for the 2015 period. The report is also a comparison to its 2012 edition. Areas of focus in the report are the income generated, expenditure and employment created by players in these industries.

Wholesale trade industry

The wholesale trade industry led the pack with an impressive R1.65 trillion income accumulated in 2015. This income represents a 12.4% per annum increase, compared to the R1.16 trillion reported in 2012.

The largest contributors were traders in food, beverages and tobacco. Trade in solid, liquid and gaseous fuels and related products trailed with the lowest income stemming from wholesale trade in other household goods.

The total number of people employed by the wholesale trade and industry sector grew from 458 000 in 2012 to 490 000 by the end of June 2015. Most of the employment in the industry was created by small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs).

Retail industry

The total income for the retail trade industry in 2015 was R819.4 billion.  This represents a significant increase of 8.4% per annum from the R642.7 billion in 2012. The increases reported were for non-specialised stores with food, beverages and tobacco textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods.

With regards to expenditure, R794 billion was spent in 2015 by the retail trade industry. The expenditure was attributed to purchases and employment costs.

In the retail trade industry, 812 104 people were employed by the end of June 2015. Formal employment in this sector increased from 580 265 in 2005 to 812 104 in 2015. Despite the high employment, the biggest loss in employment during the same period was in ‘repair of personal and household goods and retail trade not in stores’, with 22 444 jobs. 

Motor trade industry

In 2015, total income for the motor trade industry was R600.3 billion. Retail sales of motor vehicles, automotive fuel and sales of car parts and accessories contributed to this income.

Expenditure in the motor trade industry in 2015 amounted to R587.9 billion, largely due to purchases, salaries and wages.

The total number of persons employed in the motor trade industry at the end of June 2015 was 270 440. Retail sales of car fuel employed the largest number of workers with 87 633 people employed, followed by the 80 809 people employed in the motor vehicle retailers. Maintenance and repair of motor vehicles employed by 48 543.

Food and beverage industry

In 2015, R54.5 billion was accumulated in profits for the food and beverages industry. The largest contributor to the total income was restaurants and coffee shops followed by takeaway and fast-food outlets and caterers and other catering services. The income represents an increase of 7.4% per annum compared with the income reported in the corresponding survey of 2012 which saw R44 billion in profits.

Expenditure in the food and beverages industry in 2015 amounted to R53.7 billion. Purchases, employment costs, rental of land, buildings and other structures contributed to this expenditure.

The total number of persons employed in the food and beverages industry at the end of June 2015 was 174 601. This number dropped from 184 663 employees in 2012.

Accommodation industry

The accommodation industry saw a 6.7% per annum income increase over 2012/2015 period.  The total income for this industry in 2015 was R47.2 billion, from R38.9 billion in 2012.

Hotels, motels and inns dominated the industry with their profit income of R34 billion collectively.

Expenditure in the accommodation industry in 2015 amounted to R41.2 billion. The largest expenditure was on salaries and wages, purchases, interest paid and water and electricity.

A total of 109 196 people were employed in the accommodation industry by 30 June 2015. Employment in this sector industry increased by 1.8% per annum as compared to the 103 492 employees reported in the 2012 survey. – SAnews.gov.za

News editor