Greeks mostly work to pay bills and taxes, and even when they do shop, it is mainly to acquire basic food commodities, according to a survey by the Electronic Business Research Center (ELTRUN) of the Athens University for Economics and Business for the Association of Business and Retail Sales of Greece (SELPE).
The survey found that 74 percent of consumers part with over 80 percent of their monthly disposable income, while 10 percent spend more than 100 percent of their income, which means they borrow to cover their needs.
Spending on bill payments accounts for 25 percent of incomes, with another 19 percent going toward paying taxes – i.e. a total of 44 percent on average. Shopping takes another 25 percent of disposable income, while 15 percent goes on expenditure on services. Consumers believe that both these categories will show an increase in the next six months. This view – even if it proves wrong – discourages people from making purchases and therefore has a negative impact on retail commerce. Six percent of respondents said they will spend more on products in the next six months, while 12 percent said they will spend less.
The biggest share of the amount consumers spend on products goes toward food and drinks, which account for 41 percent of retail acquisitions. Twelve percent goes on food service, 10 percent on apparel, and 8 percent on pharmaceutical products. Households in Greece spend 3 percent of their income on furniture, with a similar portion going toward toys and gifts. Technology items and domestic appliances account for 7 percent of retail purchases.
The internet plays a key role in consumer behavior. This is not only thanks to online purchases but also due to its use for market research, including checking reviews by other consumers. Most respondents (59 percent) said they do research on the worldwide web before making purchases (online or in a bricks-and-mortar store), while 47 percent search the internet first and then decide what to buy from a physical store.