Santa Claus will come this year with smaller gifts for young and old. This is appreciated by the business world as high inflation, precision and limited disposable income will significantly affect consumer spending levels during the most critical period for Greek trade. With stores operating to the rhythm of festive hours and open on Sundays 17, 24 and 31 December, consumers are preparing for their shopping, while already counting down to the payment of the Christmas Gift, to private sector workers until on December 21, which will give a festive “breath”.

At the same time, checks are being intensified across the entire market, with the political leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs declaring that “it will not allow anarchy in the Greek market”. In this context, checks will be made, among other things, for unfair commercial practices, for misleading discounts, for unfair profiteering and profiteering until everyone adjusts to the law and realizes that Greek households are struggling under the pressure of inflationary pressures. trends. It is noted that consumers can complain electronically and by phone to the General Secretariat of Commerce through and through the four-digit line 1520.

As far as the Christmas table is concerned, the political leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs points out that the prices are moderate. In particular, turkey has remained at last year’s prices and in some cases the chains themselves reduce the price, while for lamb the price is 10 euros and for goat 11 euros per kilo. “The floods in Thessaly seem not to have affected Greek production that much, so there is a good picture in the market, no shortages, no supply problems” it is pointed out.

The purchasing power of the consumer is under pressure

As noted by Thanos Mavros, Partner of EY Greece and Head of EY’s Consumer Products and Retail Sector in Southeast Europe, speaking to the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency, the pressure exerted on the purchasing power and psychology of consumers by the combination of economic recession and inflation is reflected net in the results of the annual survey of the EY Future Consumer Index. Specifically, 56% of participants are very worried about the increased cost of living, 53% about their finances and 40% about the economy in general, while two out of three (69%) estimate that the problem of the increased cost of living will intensify in the coming years months.

Focusing on Christmas shopping, Mr. Mavros points out that a year ago, the survey showed that 89% of consumers intended to spend less or not increase their spending on their families during the holidays, while 41% would spend less on gifts for friends. “Given that inflation remains high, we estimate that things have not changed significantly this year,” he underlines. However, he emphasizes that the mood to limit holiday shopping is not only driven by inflationary pressure, but also by a growing desire for more responsible and more environmentally friendly consumption. For example, according to the same survey, 44% of consumers would use less festive lighting and decorations at home, while 45% said they care more about the utility of the products they buy.

He adds that almost one in three consumers (31%) places the affordability of the products they buy as their main priority, consistently being the dominant type of consumer (AffordabilityFirst) in the Greek market. However, significant portions of consumers also place importance on the impact of their purchasing choices on the planet and society, as well as on their health, while a portion of consumers seek new experiences. “We are therefore dealing with a consumer audience with different concerns and priorities, with consumer products businesses and retail being called upon to solve a conundrum,” says Mr. Mavros.

Increased appetite for consumer spending

The willingness of consumers, despite the problems due to inflationary pressures, to do their shopping during the Christmas period, as is traditionally done every year, is reflected in a survey recently completed by the Business & Retail Association of Greece with the scientific support of the ELTRUN laboratory of the Finance Department University of Athens. The research was carried out in the period 3-6 November 2023 on a sample of 950 consumers.

Specifically, on average, the public is expected to spend the Christmas period 174 euros per capita, which is 20% higher than the 146 euros of 2022. This increase is mainly attributed to the inflationary pressures registered by prices, but also to the small increase recorded in the average income of consumers. The vast majority of shopping is expected to take place up to a week before Christmas (48%) or the week of Christmas (43%), with a large proportion of the public waiting for Christmas to do their festive shopping.

It is noted that the biggest commercial holiday of November (Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday) had preceded it, which gave consumers the opportunity to take advantage of the offers and look for Christmas gifts. According to the SELPE survey, of the 26% who shopped during Black Friday, 4%, i.e. about 1 in 6, did most of their shopping for Christmas.

The same survey shows that 1 in 4 consumers (24%) bought products during Black Friday. This percentage is higher in the 18-44 age group and especially in the 25-35 age group where it reaches 36%, i.e. 1 in 3 buyers. On the contrary, the percentages for those over 45 are below 20%. Regarding the amount of the estimated expenditure for purchases during the Black Friday period for those who chose to buy, this is estimated at an average of 257 euros per capita. This is a total expenditure estimate of more than 200 million euros. 76% spent nothing, 6% up to 50 euros, 7% up to 100 euros, 4% from 100 to 200 euros, 5% from 200 to 500 euros, 2% from 500 to 1,000 euros and 1 % over 1,000 euros.

In relation to consumers’ views on Black Friday, 57% consider it to be a sale period like any other, an increase from 2022. Only 15% consider it necessary to have this sale period, a small percentage, but increased compared to 2022. 68% consider that the sales of this period were lower than their expectations. Only 5% say that the Black Friday period has better discounts than other discount periods. Nevertheless, a significant percentage (26%) is recorded which plans their purchases in anticipation of this discount period and does not shop earlier in order to take advantage of these discounts.