Shops open on Sunday ahead of Christmas, as consumers feel the pinch from inflation
Sunday, in which shops can optionally open from 11:00 until 20:00, marks the official start of the extended holiday opening hours while the 'Santa's basket' of more affordably-priced toys is to premiere on Wednesday. On the same day, the 'household basket' will become the 'holiday basket' until January 4, with the addition of products traditionally consumed at Christmas, such as turkeys, veal, cakes and chocolates.
This year has seen a comeback for bricks-and-mortar stores relative to e-shops, with a survey conducted by ELTRUN of the Economic University of Athens finding that 65 pct intend to do the greater part of the shopping on the high street, as opposed to 15 pct who intend to make their purchases electronically.
"This result shows that the market will move at very high rates," according to the head of the Greek retailers association SELPE, Antonis Makris. The survey also showed that consumers are feeling the pinch due to inflation, however, with 76 pct stating that cost will be a key criterion for their shopping, and only 15 pct choosing quality, while 31 pct state that the value of their shopping will be less this year.
The survey also showed that 45 pct of consumers are spending 90-100 pct of their income a month, while 18 pct are spending more than 100 pct of their monthly income, showing that they are dipping into their savings or borrowing to cover their monthly obligations.
According to Economic University of Athens professor Georgios Doukidis, based on the results of surveys conducted on behalf of consumers associations and retailers, rising prices and inflation are the key concerns for consumers in the coming year. Three quarters of Greeks consider price increases to be their greatest problem at present, which is significantly higher than in other European countries.
Inflation creates very strong negative feelings (insecurity, anxiety, fear, anger), outstripping other issues of concern such as the pandemic, Ukraine or relations with Turkey. He also reported that more consumers were forced to spend over their income using credit cards, loans and savings.
Doukidis noted that 80 pct of consumers are loathe to make major purchases for their home, considering that this is not the right time, while half consider that they will reduce their spending on purchases in the next six months.
Up to 60 pct of consumers expect that the cost of energy will reduce their available income by 20 pct, especially for heating, food and transport. Strategies adopted to reduce spending include changes in dietary habits (27 pct), seeking out offers (84 pct) or cheaper alternatives (75 pct), reducing consumption of food (67 pct) and electricity (63 pct) and avoiding purchases (44 pct) or postponing purchases for personal and household goods (83 pct).
According to Doukidis, between 40-50 pct of consumers will reduce their spending in all product and service categories in the next six months, except in food and medicines.