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16 March 2021

Real-time retail consumption tracker for March 8-14, 2021

Between March 8 and 14 consumer activity was weaker as compared to the beginning of the month due to a shorter work week. Experts also have spotted traces of International Women's Day celebration in Russians’ last week spending, although consumer spending grew at a rate of 2.3% y-o-y after adding 4.2% y-o-y a week earlier.

All the key metrics that analysts keep track of have decelerated slightly. Apart from spending, the consumer activity index dropped to 68.4 points from 71.1, while the number of active merchant locations slid by 0.5% since the first week of March.

This kind of change is mainly driven by the calendar factor. The thing is, although March 8 was formally last week (Monday), people celebrated it last Friday and last weekend (March 5‒7). On Monday, which was a day off, Russians apparently preferred to just stay home.

Still, some traces of the celebration can be seen on March 8–14, with liquor expenses up 11.9% y-o-y and flower expenses up 29.3% for a short time.

Details aside, nominal spending is nonetheless still above 2020 figures. Amid inflation and healthier labor market environment, the weaker performance of the last week appears to be more of a deviation from the normal and higher figures.

Spending is highly likely to get back to normal as soon as next week. Higher spending can be expected at least due to the untypically small increase in spending on groceries over the past seven days (+2.9% y-o-y).

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