Shoe brands Bathu and Drip are king in the township as consumers vie for homegrown brands

More and more consumers in the township are showing interest in homegrown brands and would prefer them to international fashion brands, a new report looking at consumer trends in townships says.

Shoe brands Bathu and Drip are king in the township as consumers vie for homegrown brands
  • Township consumers are showing more of a liking for local fashion brands.
  • If they were widely accessible, brands such as Bathu, Drip, TSHEPO Jeans, and Rich Mnisi would see more buyers, according to a new report.
  • Rogerwilco found that more women than men in South African townships are hyper-conscious about South African brands.
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The report, on a survey conducted by marketing company Rogerwilco, found that 74% of township consumers would consider buying products from local brands as opposed to international brands, especially if they had the option to use store accounts, and if they were widely available in stores.

Consumers in the township resoundingly favour footwear brands Bathu and Drip, and said they would purchase them if they were widely available.

Bathu, founded by Theo Baloyi, who just opened his 31st store, took the lead with 29% of respondents saying they would buy more of this brand.

About 25% of the people quizzed said they would buy Drip. Denim brand TSHEPO Jeans and Rich Mnisi ranked third and fourth.

The survey polled some 1,420 consumers living in South Africa’s townships, the bulk of them (22%) earning between R1,000 and R3,999. 15% of the respondents had an income of R4,000 to R6,999, and 6% make more than R30,000 monthly.

Stephan Eyeson, CEO and Cofounder of Survey54, which distributed the survey, said people, both in townships and beyond, are generally becoming more patriotic about local brands and are viewing them as premium brands.

“One of the key themes we saw is the presence of homegrown clothing brands and what people see as preference… People want to see local businesses doing well versus international businesses,” Eyeson said.

“We’re seeing that shopping locally and improving wealth in the community is becoming a more common theme, and we’re seeing these brands picking up… not just with clothing but within other parts, we’re seeing that with food,” he said.

Consumers aged between 25 and 34 accounted for 39% of those who prefer local over international fashion brands, closely followed by those in the 18 to 24 age group, where 36% favour homegrown styles.

These shoppers also had more substantial buying power thanks to higher disposable income.

“[This] suggests that we may see an increase of local brands in department stores, or that South African fashion brands may find a credit alternative to ensure that shoppers can buy their products,” the report said.

The report found that women aged 25 to 34 are more likely to shop for local brands when compared to their male counterparts, and are more conscious of South African brands.

Laduma Ngxokolo, the founder of the famed local MaXhosa brand, which has showcased on international stages and recently collaborated with Japanese brand Tokyo Knit, said building with international brands adds to the ‘premiumisation’ of South African fashion brands.

“It also helps to export Africa and its heritage to other parts of the world, thereby increasing its value locally,” Ngxokolo said.

Published in Business Insider