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Consumption in Poland in the black

Consumption in Poland in the first quarter of 2024 was 2.3% higher than in the corresponding period of 2023. The result could have been better if it had not been for the reconstruction of savings, lost in the period of higher inflation. According to analysts from the Polish Economic Institute, private consumption in the whole of 2024 will be 3.1% higher than a year ago.

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Better in retail, worse in wholesale

Retail sales increased by 5.1% in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the first quarter of the previous year. A record level, one even  better than before the COVID-19 pandemic, was recorded in car sales. This was 21% more than a year ago. However, not all readings are optimistic. There are still doubts about buying durable goods (furniture, electronics and household appliances). Here sales fell by 10.2% compared to 2023.

The aforementioned increase in consumption of goods did not translate into higher wholesale results. In the first quarter, the ratio was 6.2% lower than a year ago. Despite this, there are signs of improvement. In the sales of furniture and electronics and household appliances, this time among companies, an increase of approx. 17% was recorded compared to the first quarter of 2023.

An increase in spending on services

According to Eurostat data, the average increase in use of services was 6.7%, while in 2023 it was about 4.7%. These figures do not include trade and financial services. Increases were recorded in all major service industries. Sales of transport services increased. In February they were 5.9% higher than in the previous year, when a 5.1% drop was recorded. These positive results are due to the higher sales of goods and a growth in  spending on travel.

Optimism in 2024?

According to PIE analysts, consumption in 2024 should be satisfactory. This is largely due to increases in wages. Since the beginning of the year, it has become clear that the impact of the higher minimum wage has been greater than forecast. In addition, wages in the enterprise sector increased by 12.6% in the first quarter of this year. Taking inflation into account, we can talk about an increase in purchasing power of 9.3% compared to the first quarter of 2023.

Interestingly, one of the effects of the pandemic and inflationary turmoil is a noticeable greater desire to save. In the period from 2020 to the third quarter of 2023, the real value of savings fell by 5.4%. According to research carried out by the Central Statistical Office, the results show a willingness to save at the highest level since September 2021. It is also higher than in the period preceding the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic (2010-2018).

The research also shows a growing percentage of households declaring their willingness to make important purchases. However the effects are so far only noticeable in the sales in the automotive industry.

Source: Macroeconomic Monthly published by the Polish Economic Institute – April 2024

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