Retail trends are emerging as Christmas shopping sales wrap up around the country. If you’ve left things to the last minute, consider this useful gift guide.
Massmart stores include DionWired, Builders’ Warehouse, Makro and Game.
Brian Leroni, Massmart corporate affairs executive, says gadgets such as the AR Drone and the gaming sensation Sphero are a hit for mostly teenage boys this year, but the new range of iPods are sought-after gifts for both sexes and most ages.
Mr Leroni says decorative functionality is getting the nod from shoppers with items such as the Smeg Retro range of cooking appliances and the K-Mix counter-top appliances easy sells.
› Hollywood jumps on fracking wagon
› Last minute Christmas gift ideas
DionWired, Game and Makro are doing a brisk trade on bean-to-cup coffee machines. Other top sellers at Makro include the KETER Cool Bar, Lalaloopsy dolls, the Spider-Man playsuits and the Terrace Leisure Wicker Bali hanging pod.
At Builders’ Warehouse, DIY tool kits are big sellers.
It’s going to be a kinky Christmas for many South Africans with the Fifty Shades trilogy on the Top 10 bestselling list.
The first volume Fifty Shades of Grey is in pole position, while the second and third instalments — Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed — are in eighth and ninth position, respectively.
While the titles of Zapiro’s But Will It Stand Up In Court (number two) and Adriaan Basson’s Zuma Exposed (number seven) have potentially suggestive titles, they are no doubt less shady than EL James’ fantasies.
The rest of the top 10 include Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney, Mamphela Ramphele’s Conversations with My Sons and Daughters, John Platter’s South African Wine Guide 2013 by Philip van Zyl, 50 Flippin Brilliant South Africans by Alexander Parker, and Endings and Beginnings by Redi Tlhabi.
Taryn Hyam, communications director for Core Group, says while staff are not able to give sales figures on products, iPad sales have exceeded expectations.
She says while the iPad 2 is selling well, the iPad mini and the fourth generation iPad with Retina Display are most in demand. The iPad 3 will be available while stocks last.
Andre du Toit, MD of Digital Experience in Fourways Crossing, Johannesburg, says smart TVs -LED and plasma -are in demand again this season as families treat their homes to a digital upgrade.
The two big mobile technology brands are going head-to-head, with Samsung Galaxy Tablets and Notes vying for top position alongside the new iPad Generation 4 and the mini version. Du Toit says bolt-on accessories, such as tablet, phone cases and solar chargers, are also big on gift lists this year.
Big upmarket cameras with interchangeable lenses — notably Nikon, Canon and Sony -are proving popular, but sales of the smaller "point and shoot" digital models have fallen off as cellphone cameras become increasingly sophisticated.
Other big Christmas sellers are binoculars and Blu-ray DVD players.
Christopher Greig, great grandson of the eponymous Charles, says it’s turning out to be another bumper Cartier Christmas with a significant number of well-heeled men buying their wives and mistresses what he describes as the "ultimate ladies’ brand". Women are buying their men sporty Rolexes, especially the GMT, Submariner and the eminently collectable stainless-steel Daytona.
Self-gifting is also a trend with a good number of men rewarding themselves for a hard year. Watch collecting has become a common pastime for wealthy and status-driven men in recent years and Greig says this year Vacheron Canstantine and the Italian oversized Panerai are in particularly short supply as a result.
Jewellery sales also surge at this time of year, but not just because it’s Christmas. Greig says December and January are traditionally big engagement months.
Jewellery sales have tended towards multi-strands of gemstone beads, particularly in strong colours such as turquoise, lime and coral.
Bronze sculptures by South African artists are another popular line, especially among women buying for their partners, and the all-local Ardmore ceramics are proving to be a hit for family members living abroad.
Wanda Ambrosini, MD of Prima Toys -South Africa’s largest toy wholesaler -says the educational Leap Frog Leap Pad 2 is a top choice for boys and girls aged between four and 11. Another big seller at the major chainstores is the updated version of the Furby, a cute electronic robotic toy that learns to speak English -or any one of the 24 languages it is programmed for.
Top girls’ gifts include the Lalaloopsy doll, Bratzillah, Colour me mine Bags and the Baby Born Interactive Doll.
Top boys’ sellers include the Avengers figures, Monsuno, Thundercats characters and Ben 10 Omniverse toys.