This report focuses on the retail and wholesale trade of books and stationery in South Africa, including comprehensive information on the size and state of the sector, circulation, sales and trade data and influencing factors including the ongoing move to digital, competition, environmental concerns and the coronavirus pandemic. There are profiles of 56 companies including retailers such as CNA, PNA and Exclusive Books, publishers such as Caxton and CTP and Macmillan and online retailers such as Takealot and Virtual Bookshelf.
Retail and Wholesale Trade of Books and Stationery in South Africa
The retail sector was severely affected when trade was prohibited during the coronavirus lockdown from March to June 2020. Booksellers and magazine and newspaper publishers were already under pressure due to the recession that constrained consumer spending. The growth in book sales is expected to be below 1% per annum over the next three years while sales of magazines and newspapers are expected to decline. An increase in book sales to state departments in 2019 was offset by a decline of 51% in sales by supermarkets and shops. South Africa is a net importer of stationery and China accounted for nearly half of stationery imports in 2019.
Industry in Decline
The books and stationery sectors operated in a poor economy and declining retail sector over the past year amid continued changes in a highly competitive landscape. The recession at the end of 2019 severely affected demand and resulted in declining magazine and newspaper circulations and, to a lesser extent, reduced advertising revenues. The lockdown exacerbated an already precarious situation for some publications and resulted in the closure of at least 17 magazines and six newspapers, while others announced they would move to digital editions. Retail sales are expected to be affected by the reduction in the number of titles available. Retailers negotiated reduced rental with mall owners during lockdown.