The five editions of the Express (PE, Kouga, Mthatha, UD and the Komani Karoo) provide advertisers with targeted vehicles to reach the economically important readers in the Eastern Cape.
Whilst the Eastern Cape is the second largest province in geographic terms, the size of its adult population of 4 481 000 ranks fourth after Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and Western Cape. isiXhosa is the predominant language, spoken most often by 82.6% of Eastern Cape dwellers, with Afrikaans in second place (10.6%) and English (5.2%) in third according to the Publishers Audience Measure Survey (PAMS) 2019. The ethnic profile corresponds closely to this, being 86.3% Black, 8.0% Coloured and 5.4% White.
Given its low population density of 26.5 adults per square kilometre, it is little surprise that roughly half the households (49.6%) are located in rural areas. However, a third (34.3%) of households are located in the two metropolitan municipalities of Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City; combined they generate over half (53.9%) of the provincial household income. The leading city in the former is Port Elizabeth, also known as the "The Windy City" or “The Friendly City” depending on the humour of the describer, whilst East London and Bhisho, the seat of government, are to be found in the latter. These municipalities are home to two of the most successful Industrial Development Zones in South Africa: Coega and East London. The provincial economy is largely dependent on the automotive sector but also relies on areas such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals and petrochemicals, agriculture and agro-processing, capital goods and manufacturing.
The people in this province are open minded and progressive. Brandmapp 2018 reveal that over three quarters (76%) of the residents in this province believe in equal opportunities for men and women, whilst seven in ten believe that work should be more than just a means of making money; it should be interesting. Given the more complimentary of Port Elizabeth’s monikers, it is no surprise to learn that 65% of adults place importance on keeping in touch with their friends. They are patriotic believing that “we should be proud to be South Africans”. Living close to the mecca of the local motor industry colours their aspirations: buying or changing their cars ranks top of the list (49%), followed by getting a new job (35%) and then by moving to a new house (27%).
Their interests are varied. They enjoy music (70%), movies (66%), travel (62%), cooking (57%), and reading (56%). The strong presence of the automotive industry has impacted their sporting interests with the most popular being motorsports (43%). They keep in shape by running and walking (36% respectively) and gym training (31%). Given their penchant for music, it is no surprise that just over a third like to attend orchestral performances. Also popular are street festivals (27%), live sports events and food markets (26%).
Like most South Africans, they like the community notices in their local titles (44%). Roughly a quarter believe that these titles help to build a sense of community; an equal proportion comment that they enjoy seeing people in the news that they personally know. It was a reassuring sense of community that was particularly needed in the first stage of lockdown. Elizabeth Giliomee, Editor: PE Express, responded by running the same message in bold on the front page of all the first editions of the lockdown issues: “You’re not alone, we’re In It Together!” A further illustration of this sense of community was the readers’ keenness to help others in this difficult time. Two examples are: the Komani-Karoo Express secured support for four soup kitchens, whilst UDitenhage District Express assisted the local SPCA to keep their doors open by publishing an appeal for much needed items and financial support.
PAMS 2019 shows, that within the two metropolitan districts, English is overwhelmingly favoured as the reading language (81.6%). Their reading habits are clearly shaped by their interests and aspirations: 47.6% follow sport whilst 42.2% are interested in SA news and current affairs. The next most popular topics are jobs and careers (42.1%), followed by health and fitness (39.7%). They also like to keep up with politics, celebrity news, international news, and the food and recipe pages.
Advertisers will be interested to know that pamphlets, leaflets and inserts play an important role in their purchase decision-making: metropolitan consumers are 37% more likely than the average South Africa to buy products as a result of seeing them advertised in those formats. Six out of ten shoppers use them to compare prices, whilst a similar proportion find them useful in planning their shopping.