Steep fall. Sberbank analyzes Russians’ consumption behavior patterns between March 30 and April 5, 2020

Apr 08, 2020
  • Russians’ spending across goods and services categories down 22.9% w-o-w between March 30 and April 5
  • Cashless spending in services categories down 58.8%
  • Higher demand maintained in categories Grocery Stores (+9.2% y-o-y), Drugs and Medical Products (+15.5% y-o-y), Liquor Stores (+31.0% y-o-y)
  • Demand near zero in categories Clothes, Footwear, and Accessories; Sport; Beauty Parlors; Furniture & Interior Design Items

April 8, 2020, Moscow — SberData, Sberbank’s big data analytics and procession lab, keeps working on a series of indicators to track economic processes with the shortest time lag possible. The lab publishes its analysis of consumer spending evolution regarding goods and services every week.

Between March 30 and April 5 people’s spending slid 22.9% w-o-w. The y-o-y decline stood at 23.3%, which is close to the w-o-w figure.

If current consumption level is maintained until the end of the month, this will cause the GDP to shrink about RUB900–950 bln (0.9% of the annual figure) or more, SberData analysts believe.

Service industries are suffering the heaviest blow. Between March 30 and April 5 cashless transactions lost 58.8% y-o-y. The demand for goods also started waning fast, something not spotted before April, with the general decline reaching 11.3% y-o-y, Grocery Stores not taken into account (minus 37.3 y-o-y).

SberData analysts have identified several categories where even the absolute value of spending is nearing zero. For several weeks in a row, sales have been bottom-low across Plane Tickets, Tour Agencies, and Hotels categories. In early April these added Sports, Beauty Parlors, Entertainment, and other major categories of goods, such as Clothes & Footwear (minus 94.2% y-o-y), and Furniture & Interior Design Items (minus 81.0%). Sales of home appliances and electronics over the week plummeted by 58.2 y-o-y.

The demand stays high across the basic necessities categories only, such as groceries and medical products. The Liquor Stores category has been on the rise for two weeks straight (+31.0% y-o-y) and is free of its usual weekday-weekend fluctuations. Over the week in question, growth has also been spotted in the Digital Goods category, which appears to be caused by the beginning of self-isolation.

Some of the additional purchases inside the Groceries category might be explained by the fact that Russians don’t go to cafés or restaurants anymore. This will be true if the higher spending in grocery stores is maintained. However, analysts believe this is the only category that may enjoy more or less stable demand. In other categories, the consumer spending curve is falling steeply.