BUSINESS

Alcohol and fast food are first to go for Greek consumers

By Dimitra Manifava

Alcoholic beverages and fast food are the main victims of Greek consumers trying to curb their spending on food and drink, according to a recent worldwide report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

The survey, which was conducted in 21 countries with the participation of 25,000 respondents, found that more Greeks today are spending what little they have left on the absolute essentials, such as dairy and fresh produce, and displaying a consumer behavior pattern that is usually associated with lower-income groups.

The survey found that 58 percent of Greeks are planning to reduce their food budget, as opposed to 7 percent who said that they will be increasing it and the remaining 35 percent who won?t be making any changes in that department. The products that will be the first to go are spirits and beers, with 70 and 71 percent of respondents respectively saying that they will reduce their purchases.

When it comes to fast food, the story is similar, with 71 percent of Greeks saying that they are making efforts to stop taking the easy way out. In contrast, 17 percent said that they have increased their spending on dairy products and fresh produce.

In other areas, 65 percent of Greeks claimed that they are cutting back on spending on other consumer products as well, with jewelry and accessories taking the hardest hit as 76 percent of respondents said that they will be a lot more careful when shopping for such luxuries.

Another interesting finding in the BCG survey is that the economic crisis has helped Greeks rediscover the joys of entertaining or visiting friends at home rather than going out for a meal or drinks. Family and friends, according to the survey, have become a key factor in keeping stressed-out Greeks on an even keel, with 49 percent saying that when they?re worried they turn to family and 39 percent admitting that they seek out the company of their friends.

The food and beverages industry has responded to this trend by introducing a series of products aimed at enhancing the experience of staying in, such as machines that make a wide variety of coffees, beer brewing kits, barbecues and foodstuffs that help bring fine dining into the home.

The BCG survey also found that within the next 12 months, 73 percent of Greeks will be reducing expenditures on non-necessary items and goods: 79 percent will postpone purchases such as buying a new car; 71 percent will make a conscious effort to buy more products on sale; 74 percent will conduct more careful research for cheaper alternatives to their usual purchases; and 69 percent will be doing most of their shopping at discount stores.

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