Greek supermarkets have cashed in over 615 million euros in just four weeks – i.e. in the first month of the coronavirus epidemic in Greece – as fear of what is yet to come led to consumers panic buying large quantities of disinfectants and food with a long shelf life.
However, that trend does appear to be tailing off, likely because most are now all stocked up, along with the curfew and the defensive consumption behavior many are expected to develop in the coming days as a result of job insecurity.
The updated statistics by IRI market researchers for the period from February 24 to March 22 showed that supermarket turnover in the 340 main product categories came to 615.01 million euros, up 35.1 percent from 455.25 million euros in the same period a year earlier.
From the start of the year until March 22, supermarket turnover grew 13.1 percent year-on-year as people started to realize that Covid-19 would affect their daily lives. In the March 16-22 period, sales at supermarkets expanded 32.6 percent from the same week in 2019, with turnover in the same 340 categories soaring to 150.32 million euros from 113.34 million a year earlier.
In the first month of the coronavirus epidemic in Greece, sales of products such as disinfectant wipes and rubbing alcohol rose more than fivefold, while food supplements and plastic gloves saw their sales rise threefold. Interestingly, Greek households returned to purchasing luncheon meat, whose sales jumped 214.4 percent from a year earlier.
Besides the presence of food supplements and luncheon meat among the top 10 climbers in supermarket sales, the data also point to several other shifts in consumer habits, with increases in the sales of tinned soup, canned tuna and even in lemon juice. The closure of restaurants and many people’s fear of having meals delivered have also led to a major increase in ready-made pizzas and pizza bases.
Sales grew most in Thessaloniki (39.8 percent), followed by Crete (38 percent) and Attica (35.1 percent).