Romanian consumers remain conservative on low financial expectations

Newsroom 02/05/2012 | 13:45

After two years of constantly declining consumer confidence, Romania posted the first pick-up at the end of 2011, reveals the Shopper Trends 2012 survey put together by Nielsen Romania. Even so, an environment of increasing prices and political instability doesn’t leave room for consistent growth this year, data suggest.

Simona Bazavan

The Romanian economy is showing signs of recovery, a trend evidenced by the fact that local consumers increased their number of shopping visits to most retail formats in 2011 compared to 2010, thinks Oana Potec, senior research executive at Nielsen Romania.

The end of last year brought more reasons for Romanian consumers to be cheerful, with an 8 percent average

salary increase in November, y-o-y, while inflation fell from just below 8 percent in December 2010 to around 3.1 percent in December 2011. Consumer confidence grew despite the fact that the perception that food prices were rising was even more pronounced last year than in 2010, according to the Shopper Trends 2012 report. More than four in five shoppers believed that food prices had gone up in Romania.

However, despite the pick-up at the end of 2011, overall Romanian consumer confidence remains conservative, lower than the European and global average, as only one quarter of consumers are satisfied with their financial state, in an environment of increasing prices and political confrontation, according to Nielsen.

Looking at the structure of the market, last year the modern trade sector continued its advance both in terms of shopper engagement and revenue but also in network development, as more than 100 new stores were opened. Out of this figure 60 were discounters.

Shoppers too have matured with the market and their expectations are becoming harder to satisfy. In addition to an accessible location, stocking a broad product portfolio, promotions and good value for money, a modern store should pay attention to aspects such as the general atmosphere in the shop and the details that make a visit there a pleasant shopping experience, Potec explained.

Thrifty Romanians look at promotions

Promotions continued to be an important factor determining purchasing behavior last year. Retailers used this strategy to the point where they flooded the market and made it very hard for shoppers to differentiate between competitors.

“Promotions effectiveness is directly linked to whether the buyer had a positive experience with the product/brand or if the consumer’s perception is positive. Price cuts are by far the preferred promotional scheme among Romanian buyers, followed by buy one, get one free (BOGOF) and getting a larger amount for the same price,” said Potec.

The data for the Shopper Trends 2012 report was collected between October and November 2011 from 1,200 respondents (main grocery shoppers and key influencers for household monthly shopping), aged 18-65.

simona.bazavan@business-review.ro

Where do Romanians do their weekly shop?*

2009 2010 2011

Hypermarkets     53     50     55

Supermarkets     19     22     21

Discounters         16     18     17

Traditional           6       6       3

Cash&Carry          5       4       2

*Percentage

Source: Nielsen Romania

simona.bazavan@business-review.ro

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