Online transaction data has confirmed what opinion polls had found during the lockdown: What Greeks missed most while they were stuck at home was going to their hairdressers and barbers, as in the first three weeks of May they scrambled to get their locks back in shape.
While in April the online turnover of haircare professionals was down virtually 100% from a year earlier due to the forced closure of their salons, in May it has more than doubled compared to the first few weeks of the same month in 2019, leading to 125% growth.
This is the picture emerging from bank transaction data, collected anonymously so as not to access private data. These statistics are particularly useful in this period, which requires rapid decisions, as they offer a snapshot of the economy before the official data from the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) come out. There is also the small matter of an increased preference nowadays for online payments, which social distancing favors over cash payments. However, the comparison of April with May clearly shows where the Greeks turned their attention when the measures eased.
Among other sectors to have benefited after stores reopened, based on online transaction data, are apparel repair shops, which have seen turnover soar 105% this month after a 40% decline in April. Electronics repairs stores are also proving popular as staying at home meant appliances were used more often during the lockdown, leading to a 70% jump in turnover this month after a 10% drop in April.
Bookstores have enjoyed a 55% increase in takings this month after a drop of the same rate in April, while computers and software have observed 40% growth in May after a 17% slide last month. Tool shops have benefited from home repairs, with their turnover gaining 65% in May against a 15% fall in April.
Besides personal care, Greeks missed their dental care during the lockdown, as dentists and orthodontics rebounded from a 80% drop in turnover last month with a 40% growth so far in May.