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Ivanov Consumer Confidence Tracker: Russian sentiment returns to pre-COVID-19 levels

05/14/2021 | 09:39am EDT

The traditional Ivanov Consumer Confidence Tracker, released quarterly by SberCIB Investment Research, has shown that Russians are more optimistic about the economic situation in the country. The consumer sentiment index, which dropped toward the end of last year primarily due to the COVID-19 situation, has returned to average levels for 2018-2020.

We carried out the survey for this study in March 2021. Both the coronavirus infection rate and the inflation rate were falling, the ruble was growing stronger, and the ruble-dollar exchange rate was becoming less volatile. Much of the negative sentiment experienced by Ivanovs and discussed in Q4 2020 never came to be. Asaresult, optimisticestimatesofthesituationrose.

There is improvement across all components of the Ivanov index, but the most significant changes are seen in the perception of national wealth, with an increase of 13 percentage points.

The business prospects evaluation index also hit record levels. In Q1 2021 it reached a record 15%, marking a nine percentage point improvement on last year's figures.

Ivanovs' reasons for concern have not changed significantly compared to last quarter. People continue to be predominantly concerned about their health. The proportion of people worried about economic growth and the exchange rate has decreased in contrast to Q4. The number of respondents concerned about unemployment has also dropped.

Yaroslav Lisovolik

Head of SberCIB Investment Research

Salaries go up

In 1Q21, an increase in average monthly paychecks was registered when they jumped 2.9% y-o-y. The metric grew in e-commerce the most, adding over 50% y-o-y. Last quarter, Ivanovs' readiness to build up savings also increased, with the average savings per household reaching RUB 51,000 and barely changing in absolute terms since the previous quarter. The share of consumers who consider the current economic situation unfavorable to set money aside decreased to 39% from 46%, which is one of the biggest alterations on record.

Ivanovs visit stores more often

Ivanovs are still focused on cheaper price segments, as was the case in the last quarter. However, the importance of prices is somewhat lower for them. Consumers still pay much attention to the quality of groceries, being less concerned with the sanitary conditions of stores and lines, which went up when incidence rates were peaking.

The number of trips people make to buy things is slightly up amid weaker fears triggered by COVID-19. The metric reached 2.9 a week, up from last quarter's 2.8, with consumers visiting an average of two stores per trip.

Buyers keep migrating from hypermarkets to corner stores, while the overall number of stores keeps contracting - the average Ivanov has access to 3.8 corner stores as of now, which is down from 3.9 y-o-y. This is due to second-tier retailers shutting down their merchant location on the back of higher loyalty for major retailers.

Everyone goes online

E-commerce market coverage has stabilized at 67%, with consumers ordering online more often. The difference between the share of those using online stores more often and the proportion of users buying online less often is up 15 pp in two years. It reached 32% in March 2021.

As for video streaming, the proportion of people using such services at least once a month or those subscribed to online cinemas is up 14 pp to reach 29%. However, one-half of users subscribed to online cinemas for free via promo codes. Almost one-third of users in this category are ready to prolong their subscription only if they get a new promo code.

Users of music streaming services are now more ready to pay for that. The share of people using nothing but free content is 75%, down from 83% a year earlier.

Disclaimer

Sberbank of Russia published this content on 14 May 2021 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 14 May 2021 13:38:01 UTC.


© Publicnow 2021
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