May sees gradual recovery in consumption

May sees gradual recovery in consumption

Electronic transaction data over the first 20 days of May point to a rebound in consumption and a gradual return to 2019 levels, according to Finance Ministry sources who are optimistic about the return of the economy to its pre-pandemic speed – not including tourism.

Online transactions increased 10% in comparison to the same period in 2019, bank figures show. If one considers that their share has continued to grow year after year, especially due to the pandemic, one can expect that all transactions in May 2021 will come close to those made in May 2019, a ministry source commented. Compared to the same period in May 2020, online transactions are up 19%.

As usual there are winners and losers, and ministry officials observe that some of the trends born during the lockdowns will stay.

Among the big losers of the first 20 days of May in comparison with the same period in 2019 are hotels (-77%), duty-free shops (-85%), car rentals (-56%), coach businesses (-56%), recreation parks (-80%) and boat hiring companies (-63%).

The period’s winners were bakeries, which doubled their turnover (+100%), books, magazines and newspapers, which soared 118%, pharmacies (54%), supermarkets and food stores (32%), toys (50%), home appliances (40%), dentists (46%), construction material (48%), computers and software (46%) and gaming (22%).

Interestingly, the online turnover of food service was down 19% from two years earlier, as the sector opened on May 3, but without bars, indoor establishments and with reduced opening hours. Nevertheless, fast-food restaurants posted a 100% jump in terms of their electronic turnover.

The non-tourism section of the economy is therefore bound to revert to 2019 levels, while revenues from tourism are expected between 45% and 70% of those seen in 2019, before matching that record year in 2022, a ministry source estimates. The same official anticipates a dynamic recovery in construction.

Notably, the government’s Stability Program is based on the assumption of tourism revenues coming up to 45% of 2019 revenues this year.

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