It’s the season for new tenders

Popular belief suggest that tender peaks occur in February and May just before the year-end of national/provincial government and municipalities respectively. This would be last minute attempts to prevent the loss of unspent budget. The third period is supposed to be November before South Africa’s extensive summer breaks. Other theories are that organs of state would wait for fresh budget at the start of the financial year before publishing new tenders which would suggest peaks in March and July.

We have been analysing tender data that published by MarketSqr over the past three years in our tender notification service. We grouped the numbers of new tenders published in each calendar month over that period to test these beliefs and find the months you should be on the alert for new tenders.


Looking for the busy months, one can point to the clear peaks in May and November with high activity levels in February and also August through October.

Another way to look at the data would be to consider the slower months being primarily December and January but also April, June and July.

We understand there to be two factors influencing the seasonality of tender publications:

  • Fiscal year impact
  • General business activity

Financial Year end

In South Africa the fiscal year for the Government of South Africa starts on 1 April and ends 31 March. This applies to national and provincial departments. Municipalities start the financial year on 1 July and end on 30 June. It may then be that we could see a change in tender activity around year end. Considering the time frame that tenders run for however reduces this seasonal effect. It can take weeks or months between tender notification and award and that tends to even out peaks and troughs.

The activity does change around year end in transactional purchasing. This would be straight purchase orders or Requests for Quotations. The turnaround time on these transactions are much shorter that with formal tenders and therefore can be influenced are transactional level.

General business activity

Seasonality in general business activity probably has the biggest effect on tender publication volumes in any particular month. The business environment slows right down in December and only tends to pick up towards the second or third week in January. This has the effect that officials are on leave and very simply do not get through the volume of work that is done in other months. April, June and July are also typically slower with public holidays and school holidays falling in those months.

Implications for potential bidders

The seasonality of new tender publication is not significant enough that it should affect the behaviour of potential bidders. In other words to be successful at participating in tenders you need to keep a constant eye on tender publications regardless of the season.

The most important point from this is that you cannot focus on specific months to watch for tender notices. With high tender volumes

About MarketSqr Tender Notification Service

Subscribers get daily e-mail notifications for tenders in their line of business. MarketSqr consolidates tender notification information from tender portals, tender bulletins, newspapers and web sites every day. This information is then filtered and a summary is e-mailed to subscribers every morning. If subscribers follow a tender they are interested the important dates relating to the tender will be added to the subscriber’s Tender Calendar. Tenders can be accessed via the website or any mobile device.

Visit: MarketSqr Tender Notification Service