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New trend, what Albanians consumed for the end-of-year holidays – Latest News

New trend, what Albanians consumed for the end-of-year holidays

The trend of festive shopping in Albania changed in the year we just left behind. The shopping season started three months ago, avoiding speculative shopping in the last days of December. Major retail operators said the end-of-year shopping season has been extended. Purchases of expensive furniture and gifts started in late October.

Sales in children’s toy lines, supermarket products and furniture have grown at double-digit rates. New festive shopping trends and where revenue was generated for shopping.

Festive shopping enthusiasm has not been hampered by either high prices or the pandemic, as all retail lines, from used items to sophisticated tech shopping reported unusual sales in the two months before the holidays.

Restrictions on movement since the onset of the pandemic and the concentration of vital activity on simple things, mainly self-care and home care, have channeled consumption into food and equipment related to improving indoor infrastructure.

This trend, which started during the pandemic, when people were locked in their homes for a long time and noticed unmet housing needs, continued into the holiday season. Distributors asserted sales growth in volume, despite prices being higher.

Consumer spending is being fueled mainly by savings, remittances that were on the rise this year, and by channeling travel and entertainment expenses into home appliances. Travel abroad and the end-of-year festivities in bars and restaurants had become a tradition in Albania, but restrictions on movement and austerity measures by some European countries have changed plans. Spending the holidays at home is increasing the need for new equipment.

“Best Seller”, the largest furniture operator in the country, said that, the demand on the eve of the holidays was high this year. Official sources from the company explained that the demand was higher than usual years for both exports and the domestic market. The increase has been over 25-30%, depending on the products during December, the company claimed.

“Balfin” group, the largest retail operator in the chain of stores “Jumbo”, “Neptun”, “Spar Albania”, “Fashion Group Albania”, reported sales growth throughout 2021 and at the end of the year. In terms of volumes, “Neptun” has increased by 23%, FGA 30%, “Spar Albania” 25% and “Jumbo”, 21%, including sales that the networks have in other stores abroad.

The same trend has continued for food products in their specialized sales units. The Big Market, one of the largest retail operators in the country, claimed that sales in December were higher than in other regular years for all types of products. The increase in consumption on the eve of the holidays was also supported by some indirect indicators, such as imports, retail trade in volume, which were growing above the historical average in the second half of the year.

The festive season extends, purchases that three months in advance

Every year that passes, the holiday season is extended in time. Holiday-related items, festive decorations start in November. Consumers, especially the younger ones, conceive of purchases as early as September and make them faster.

This trend showed strongly this year, said Fatmir Braha, who owns a furniture production unit. “Braha” furniture, with almost 30 years of experience in the market, shows that a new trend of year-end orders is emerging. Albanians usually concentrate orders in December and often the work was unaffordable. The pandemic has spurred creativity and furniture requirements this year have been very special, deviating from the usual standard.

Demand was high and varied for the holidays, even though prices were high during the season, Mr. Braha said. According to him, sales were high, but growth was hampered by a lack of employees and the inability to increase production capacity precisely because of the lack of employees. The furniture sector is suffering from labor shortages more than some other sectors. While the demand for furniture has been high, also due to the increase of new volumes, the furniture makers are not finding new employees, as qualification is required.

Official sources from the “Balfin” group reported steady sales growth of over 20% in all units in the two months before the holidays.

The satisfaction of shopping in stores returns, but online sales remain higher

Pandemic constraints, especially last year and the second wave of the pandemic (November 2020-February 2021) that coincided with the holidays years somewhat contracted physical purchases, as a growing trend of online sales was observed.

Unlike last year, the physical attendance of stores in the network of companies “Balfin” has increased, said the sources in the company. Going to the shops is part of the holiday routine and the fun that this process gives you. But online shopping has also become a habit for some companies and citizens who have invested in online commerce infrastructure.

In a special survey, INSTAT verified that in 2021, “online” purchases were made by 21.4% of the population aged 16-74. Among “online” purchases, products and services that occupy the largest share were clothing, shoes and accessories with 88.9%, which have shown an increase from 2020 by 4.1 percentage points. Even in 2021, the highest increase was recorded by “online” purchases for “food / beverages” from stores or providers.

In terms of online shopping, by gender, during 2021, women have made more purchases for: “personal care products (cosmetics, etc.)”, “baby products or toys for them” and “household products” . Meanwhile, men have shown more preferences in shopping for: “goods and sports goods”, “food services from restaurants / fast-food or catering services”, as well as “food or drinks from shops / food providers”.

Consumption is being supported by high import growth

High commodity consumption was supported by rising imports, both in value and prices. During the 11-month period 2021, according to INSTAT, imports increased by 31.1%, compared to the 11-month period 2020.

The groups that have had a positive impact on the annual growth of imports are: “Minerals, fuels and electricity” with +7.2 percentage points, “Machinery, equipment and spare parts” with +6.3 percentage points and “Construction materials and metals ”by +5.5 percentage points. The growth rates of imports were also high during November, a month before the Christmas month.

According to INSTAT in November 2021, imports in value increased by 44.4% compared to November 2020. Compared to November 2020, the groups: “Minerals, fuels and electricity” had a positive impact with +22.8 percentage points, ” Construction materials and metals ”with +8.3 percentage points and“ Food, beverages, tobacco ”with +4.3 percentage points.

The increase in imports is responding to the increase in domestic demand which marked a strong increase, as well as worldwide, in Albania. / monitor /

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