FNB has announced that purchases recorded on its Speedpoint devices for August recovered to 93.2% of those recorded February 2020.
Additionally, merchant transactions recorded across six provinces in the same month were already above pre-pandemic levels.
FNB said that signs of this recovery were already apparent in July, where purchase activity had risen to roughly 86% compared to pre-pandemic levels.
“Early indications are that volumes recorded on FNB Speedpoint devices across the country would have largely recovered by the end of September in anticipation of further easing of operating restrictions,” said FNB Business CEO Gordon Little.
FNB Merchant Services CEO Thokozani Dlamini agreed that this is a good sign for the South African business sector.
“It is encouraging to see card swipes at merchants point of sale devices picking up, indicating that consumers are gradually returning to pre-lockdown levels of foot traffic at merchants,” said Dlamini.
Ecommerce vs physical stores
“Since the inception of lockdown in March, transactional activity had mainly been dominated by ecommerce with consumers turning to online shopping for essential goods and services,” said Dlamini.
He noted that the average ecommerce spend recorded on FNB Merchant devices grew 30% year-on-year during the first half of 2020 compared to 2019.
Additionally, during this period, the active ecommerce merchant base increased by 15%.
“We are now seeing a combination of online sales and brick and mortar store activity which bodes well for businesses as they try to recover lost income,” noted Dlamini.
FNB also said that it has seen demand transition towards non-essential stores which sell goods such as clothing, home improvement, hardware, and household goods stores.
“In support of the reopening of the economy, our branches are also now operating at full capacity,” said Dlamini.
“We are encouraged by evidence of green shoots in consumer and business economic activity, and we hope to see this accelerating even further to boost economic recovery.”