The nation’s businesses were voted for by South Africans across 12 categories as part of a new 'Most Loved Local' campaign, which aims to celebrate local businesses South Africans love the most and to investigate what makes consumers fans of these entities.

Mokaedi Dilotsotlhe, chief marketing officer at Santam, says the campaign also sets out to uncover the ‘formula’ that converts clients of a local business into fans. "It further offers local commercial enterprises insights into what it takes to succeed in business and encourages more South Africans to shop local," says Dilotsotlhe.

"When these businesses are thriving, it benefits the whole nation. In South Africa, local commercial enterprises contribute a third of GDP and employ a significant percentage of the labour force. Unfortunately, there is a very high failure rate among them — between 70% and 80% of local businesses close their doors in the first three to five years," Dilotsotlhe adds.

Jared Osmond, creative director at King James, says, "The insurance industry often sticks to the same storyline: telling businesses to insure what they have because it’s valuable. The fact that this value is always being mentioned by insurance companies almost seems to devalue it, making it sound cold and transactional at the same time."

Osmond adds, "The truth is, these businesses are most valuable to the people they serve. So, our idea was simple: get those whose lives are improved by these local businesses to tell them how valuable they are. Get their clients and fans to share why they love their locals."

The full list of selected businesses across 12 categories are:

1. Place to Stay: Chapmans Peak Hotel (Cape Town) — 'the one with the perfect calamari'
2. Eatery: Marble (Johannesburg) — 'the one with the celebrity chef in the kitchen'
3. Butcher: The Butcher Man (Cape Town) — 'the one that people cross town for'
4. Bakery: Fournos (Johannesburg) — 'the one that is way more than a bakery'
5. Spa: Rouge Day Spa (Cape Town) — 'the one run by a dynamic mother-daughter team'
6. Entertainment Spot: Gold Reef City (Johannesburg) — 'the one with the heart of gold'
7. Gym: Dream Body Fitness (Johannesburg) — 'the one that is completely unintimidating to work out at'
8. Interior Designer: By Dezign Interiors (Johannesburg) — 'the one that really, really gets its clients’ style'
9. Market: Bryanston Organic & Natural Market (Johannesburg) — 'the one that was an organic market before it was trendy to be an organic market'
10. Laundromat: Exclusive Dry Cleaners (Johannesburg) — 'the one that treats every single client like family'
11. Car Wash: Tubbs’s Car Wash (Johannesburg) — 'the one that cleans your car while you have a haircut'
12. Construction company: Radon Projects (Pretoria) — 'the one that is ready all day and all night'

Report results

A combination of digital listening tools and traditional research were used to derive the list of South Africa’s 12 'Most Loved Local' businesses. Social media listening using organic search analysis looked into which business categories were being searched for most.

This was followed up with trend analysis to assess whether a business category was growing in popularity, keyword volume analysis to refine the categories and social listening within the categories, which businesses were being spoken about in the most positive terms.

Thereafter, a poll was conducted among 2 489 respondents to find out what made them love a local business, or not. The sample was nationally representative and aimed to align with the economically active population per province.

An independent research house World Wide Worx conducted the ‘traditional’ aspect of the research using a chatbot platform via Facebook Messenger, which, according to Santam, meant the survey could reach most South African consumers living in cities.

Findings from traditional research include:
  • 40% of research respondents 'fall in love' with a business for its service.
  • Quality was the second biggest factor for loving a business at 18%.
  • Price featured lower as a factor for 'local business love'.
  • While both men and women value good service, men value it more: 36% of men said it’s important versus 26% of women. Going the extra mile is a key factor for women (26% said it’s important), but not for men (14%).
  • Referrals are more likely if the value for money is evident in a business’s offering.
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