Sberbank analyzes Russians’ consumption behavior patterns between March 23 and 29, 2020

Apr 01, 2020
  • General upsurge in consumer spending coming to end. Over week between March 23 and 29 spending down 6.2% w-o-w
  • Real spending reaches last year's figures. Metric up by only 0.2% y-o-y over week
  • On Mar 23–29, spending grows highest in Liquor Store category, up 21.9% w-o-w, up 31.8% y-o-y

April 1, 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.

Russians are spending less. Over the week between March 23 and 29, their spending slid 6.2% w-o-w. The metric added only 0.2% y-o-y, which was due to March 27 as SberData analysts registered another spike in demand across basic consumer categories. After that, customer spending started waning fast, which was evident during the last weekend already.

The specific feature of the March 23–29 period is that taxi, car-sharing, parking, and toll roads expenses lost 20–50% y-o-y. Clearly, Russians are intentionally keeping their movements inside cities to a minimum, which is logical and backed by a dramatic decrease in the following categories: Entertainment (down 78.1% y-o-y): Clothes, Footwear, and Accessories (down 51%); Cafés and Restaurants (down 42.6%).

The situation with the tourism industry keeps aggravating. Hotel expenses in Russia are nearly half the 2019 figure, plane tickets are down 83% y-o-y. Travel agencies are registering a decline of over 90%. SberData analysts believe the result is partially due to customers widely canceling their tickets and tours. About half of these businesses’ current revenue might account for compensations for the booked tours, analysts believe.

Thanks to two weeks of active sales in the Groceries and Household Appliances categories a spending hike will be spotted as of the end of March. Over the four full weeks of March nominal growth reached at least 5% y-o-y. Retail figures are expected to grow even faster, as the lion’s share of the stronger demand accounts for goods, rather than services.

However, analysts say the growth is one-dimensional. The number of segments performing positively w-o-w keeps declining consistently. Between March 23 and 29, of the 59 categories analyzed as many as 48 shrunk in real terms. Over the next nonworking week, the negative trends are likely to prevail.