n The Retail and Marketing Review - Measuring consumers’ affective attitudes to debt and savings in South Africa using self-assessment manikins

Volume 15 Number 1
  • ISSN :


It has been widely reported that South African households are burdened by excessively high levels of debt and, at times, negative savings rates. Debt and savings directly impact, not only on the lives of consumers, but also on key sectors such as the retail sector including consumers’ readiness to buy on credit or to save for future purchases. Attitudes towards debts and savings play a major role in determining behaviour that could address the problems associated with high debt levels and negative savings rates. The question arises as to whether an analysis of consumer attitudes to debt and savings, particularly from an emotional or affective perspective, can provide insight that might be useful in changing debt and savings behaviour amongst South African consumers. This article reports on a study that measured the emotional valence of South African consumers’ attitudes towards debt and savings, using Self-Assessment Manikins (SAM) in an online survey of 886 respondents. A generally positive emotional valence to savings and a generally negative emotional valence to debt were found, pointing towards extraneous drivers rather than attitudinal drivers of indebtedness.

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