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Economy

Greece’s Anxious Consumers Keeping Wallets in Their Pockets

September 22, 2022

ATHENS – Worried about record inflation, doubled electricity bills and still-rising supermarket prices, consumers and households in Greece are voting with their wallets – by not opening them as much.

A survey by the Institute of Retail Consumer Goods (IELKA) showed a majority have sharply cut their spending on clothes and household items but also food and electricity, said Kathimerini.

The economic effect and energy crisis began with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and is expected to continue, making people anxious about spending and many unable to afford some foodstuffs.

Despite soaring tourism revenues and expected growth of more than 5 percent, the New Democracy government said there’s not enough room to reduce a 24 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on food it promised to review.

The administration said the ability to help consumers further has been hindered by pouring state aid into paying up to 90 percent of electricity bills, not wanting fallout ahead of the 2023 elections.

Purchases are more and more being  made based on price, not on quality, even when making choices about food, and a turn to generic brands as an affordable alternative, less concerned about quality.

The survey from Aug. 29-Sept. 2, said Kathimerini, was based on a sample of 1,000 consumers and showed that 67 percent – compared to 61 percent in April 2022 – are cutting back on food and supermarket spending.

And 84 percent said they hunt for bargains instead of just throwing the usual items into the cart and 75 percent are buying cheaper products to make their food budgets stretch further.

And 63 percent have cut electricity use despite the state subsidies and 44 percent are building savings, cutting spending, to be ready for an emergency, especially with a dark, cold winter coming.

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