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Trade: EY: Romanian consumers attentive to quality, preferring local products and online purchases


Covid 19 crisis has modified preference of Romanian consumers, who became more careful to quality and preferred local products and those purchased online, according to the  EY Romania study “Romanian consumer behavior in context of Covid 19”.

Health and effects of health crisis on financial situation are the main elements that worry over 64% of Romanian consumers at present, a press release shows.

Preoccupations about access to basic needs (28%), personal relations (30%), liberty restrictions (32%), and the ability to reach personal potential (36%, for ages between 25 and 65) follow.

The EY study, made over May-June 2020 and developed mainly for Romanian consumers, confirm tendencies identified at global level, which showed the appearance of four new types of behavior among consumers: “save and stick”, “drastically reduce expenses” “keep calm”and : “hibernate and spend”.

It also shows that in the relaxation period for restriction measures, five behavior scenarios will be found in Romania too.

The first one is returning to normal: expenses remain mostly unchanged on this segment made of consumers less preoccupied by the pandemic, for life has never been really affected.

Then there is precaution, then extravagance among those with average to high  income. They are focused on health, but relatively optimistic, despite a strong belief that a global recession is close. They will spend more in fields important for them.

Some Romanians are saving: they have low expenses and substantial cuts for certain products. They try to recover and are the most pessimistic about their future. 

Others continue to cut down expenses: among those with the lowest education ;level, for whom the pandemic has always been huge worry. They are those with the highest risk of losing their jobs, they make high expense cuts and change their options about what they buy.

Some Romanians felt an in force return: among the youngest who continue to work. They spend more in all categories of services and products. Their daily life has been the most affected. They are the most optimistic.

According to the EY analysis, purchase criteria during the emergency state changed. Quality has become the main criterion with the highest importance increase during pandemics (66% of respondents) followed by the price. The volume of purchases increased, with a migration to local products to the detriment of imported ones. Over a third of respondents preferred to order foodstuff online with home delivery.

On a descending trend there are criteria like: brand, source, sustainability, whose importance dropped for 20%, 11% and 17% of respondents.

A major tendency among Romanian consumers was the reduction of budgets for non essential expenses, which could become permanent for about a quarter of people interviewed. A quarter of consumers also consider they will not return to consumer customs of previous years. According to the economic evolution, it is expected the percentage to grow, in case the economic evolution will not be V or U but rather L with small returns and drops.

Drops of expense budgets destined to non-essential needs will affect tourism, sports activities, open air activities as well as personal care expenses. Consequently, companies with these products and services in portfolio will have  to rethink their communication, sales, marketing  strategy, to renegotiate existing contracts and analyze purchases and cost reductions throughout the supply chain. 

As for purchases, over 75% pf consumers said they would migrate to online buying. Whatever the option, companies must be receptive to consumers' present needs, to the behavior they should adopt to remain relevant on the consumer market in Romania.

For over 50% of respondents to the survey expenses with most consumer goods remained the same as before the Covid 19 pandemic.

As for foodstuff, for 21% of respondents expenses have grown, while fpr 64.81% the amount blocked monthly for food has not changed. For 14.81% of people, expenses with essential products dropped – mainly for the 31-40 year category.

Expenses with personal care products dropped for 16.71% of respondents, while 21.27% of consumers spent more for this kind of products.

Purchases for sports items and clothes and footwear dropped for 41% and 63% of respondents.

For about a quarter of respondents, savings and investment have grown. At the opposite pole, 14% of consumers reduced the level of amounts invested/saved.

The highest increase in expenses can be seen in case of cleaning and house care products for over a third of consumers.

Relaxation activities suffered the biggest drop – a general expense drop of 73.42%, a change anticipated because of circulation restrictions in March,April and May 2020.

The study “Romanian consumers' behavior in Covid 19 context”, initiated by EY Romania was made by EY over May 13- June 2 and was based on 393 participants, the data collection being made online, by means of an internal platform.