SberIndex: Russians stock up on food and fuel

Jul 20, 2021

On July 12-18, 2021, consumer activity somewhat waned. Household spending added 8.9% y-o-y in nominal terms. According to SberIndex analysts, the spending structure is typical for the summer break, with people spending more on food, fuel, and in car shops, but less on other services.

Nominal change (% y-o-y) without adjustments. Consumer spending increased July 12-18, 2021, at a rate of 11.8% y-o-y. This is close to when the metrics should become stable and approximate the most common estimates.

SberIndex data still consider the negative impact of the bass effect, but the latter is currently seen in the food segment only and is decreasing fast.

Changes compared to weekly average figures for Feb 1–Mar 15, 2020. July 12 through July 18, 2021, consumer activity remained high. Annualized household spending added 9.3% in nominal terms compared to pre-pandemic.

The data clearly suggest that Russians are going on vacation or moving to their summer houses en masse. Over the week in question, people consumed fewer services (-2.5% w-o-w) and bought more groceries (+2.0% y-o-y). Also, spending soared in the Fuel and Car Services category (+8.0% w-o-w), which means people are widely using cars.

Interestingly, spending in the Duty Free category approximated the pre-pandemic level (-0.6% since Feb-Mar 2020), while plane tickets still sell a third worse than pre-pandemic.

SberIndex analysts reiterate the volatility of estimates remains high due to the base effect (the lockdown of April and May 2020 and its relief in June). For a clearer representation of the evolution of current demand, SberIndex suggests that a temporary comparison with the fixed period of February and the first half of March 2020 is introduced (Feb 1 – Mar 15, 2020) taking seasonal adjustments into account.

When publishing the materials, a reference to SberIndex (www.sberindex.ru) is mandatory.

SberIndex.ru is an analytical website by Sberbank that illustrates how life in Russia has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, you can find three key indices on the website based on anonymized data: a consumer activity index, changes to the activity index, and a tourism index. The evolution of gross payroll and changes to small business activity are presented in the Business section. The website also features research by SberIndex Lab (previously SberData), the Center for Macroeconomic Research, and more.