Photo: Artyom Geodakyan / TASS
Economical model of behavior of the Russian consumer is gradually eroding, according to experts of the Analytical center for the government. However, sales of televisions, refrigerators, and other expensive durable goods potrebleniya remain on a low level
The “protective” model of behavior of the Russians, which implies the principle of “spend less — save more”, go to the “gradual exhaustion”, said in a Bulletin on current trends in the Russian economy, which was prepared by the Analytical center for the government (there RBC). Private consumption in 2016 was the main driver of the decline in GDP, a decrease of 5% compared to the previous year and real retail sales fell by 5.2%. However, real income declined even more — by 5.9%. The fact that consumption has not fallen as much as revenue, according to the authors, and indicates a change in the model.
On the other hand, there is a “new level of equilibrium” in the market for some durable goods. In particular, we are talking about refrigerators, washing machines and TVs, sales of which although recovered, but remain at 25-35% below the level of 2014 (in comparable prices). The passenger car market also began to recover gradually (according to the Association of European businesses), but sales of cars in 2016 was 43% lower than in 2014.
“Over the last ten years in households of Russia there has been a substantial accumulation of durable goods (cars, computers, refrigerators, televisions, furniture, etc.), in fact, there has been a significant upgrade of all home funds, formed a kind of consumer the pillow” — recalls the expert of the Analytical center under the government of Alexander Golyshev. Most likely, on these products was “optimal for the population saturation level”, and it happened to fall in 2015-2016, he added.
The fall of the ruble in late 2014, was accompanied by a sharp increase in sales as a result, citizens bought expensive items for a few years, and that was the reason for the reduction in sales of durable goods in the future, said Galashev. If to speak about electronics market, but now it is entering a period of “normalized demand” after several years of increased, first due to the low level of penetration, and then the weakening of the ruble, said the representative of “M. Video”.
These factors allow the Russians “to calmly endure a more protracted decline in real income, changing the structure of personal consumption in favour of food products”, he said. The fall in turnover of food products, according to Rosstat, was not as deep as durables (5.3% in the first year). However, it was slightly larger than the decline in sales of non-food products as a whole (5.1 percent). In 2015 the situation was reversed: the consumption of food products decreased by 9%, nonfood products — by 10.9%, however, this occurred due to the high base of the consumer boom in 2014.
Gradually, the consumption of durable goods will recover, but “it is not necessary to wait that this will happen instantly,” says head of the Center for studies of income and living standards of the Higher school of Economics (HSE) Alina pishniak. The proportion of the population that believes that now is a bad time to make major purchases, is growing in 2014, currently it is about 60% of the population, she said. Citizens also do not expect that in the near future there will be a recovery of revenues, which will allow them to return to pre-crisis level of consumption, she adds.
The population gets used to lower consumer standards, wrote in January, the HSE experts. For example, in 2016, difficulties with grocery shopping or clothing were experienced by 41% of Russians, but most did not consider their financial situation problem.
With the participation of Anastasia Demidova