The Digital Hustle: Gig Worker Financial Lives Under Pressure, South Africa Spotlight 2020

The South Africa Spotlight 2020 of The Digital Hustle: Gig Worker Financial Lives Under Pressure tracked the experiences of gig workers, including those who use digital platforms such as e-hailing or delivery apps, to learn more about how they are faring during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Part of a bigger global study, The Digital Hustle, the South Africa Spotlight was conducted by Flourish Ventures to help fintech entrepreneurs connect with the people most in need of aid and better understand their needs. More than 600 South African gig workers participated in the online survey during June 2020. Key findings from the report include:

  • 76% of respondents experienced a large decrease in income since March 2020.
  • Approximately 4 out of 5 workers now earn less than $240 USD per month, compared to 16% before the COVID-19 lockdown.=
  • 91% are very concerned about COVID-19, specifically, how gig workers believe it will affect their ability to earn an income (46%) and the risk to their family’s health (26%).
  • Some gig workers are impacted more than others. E-hailing drivers were twice as likely as delivery workers to report a significant decline in quality of life, with 83% suffering a large decrease in income.
  • Coping strategies among South African gig workers vary. Some have a financial cushion, but a majority live on the edge. If they lost their main source of income, 58% of respondents reported they could not cover household expenses for a month without borrowing. Most have made sacrifices to cope with the pandemic and accompanying economic dislocation:
    • Over half of gig workers have already reduced their household expenses;
    • Almost half borrowed money,
    • Nearly 3 out of 4 had to rely on savings.

Flourish partnered with research firm 60 Decibels and gig worker startups FlexClub and Picup to conduct the online survey of 605 gig workers from June 21-28, 2020. Of these respondents, 425 were e-hailing drivers and 180 were delivery workers.

The full South Africa Spotlight 2020 report is available for download here.

Complete research findings are available on our interactive dashboard:

Flourish is currently fielding surveys in India, Indonesia, and the U.S. The Brazil Spotlight June 2020 report can be found here.