The fear that the economy will get worse comes to the Christmas campaign. At the gates of one of the highest consumption peaks of the year, there are signs that point to greater prudence in spending than last year. Political uncertainty also does not encourage loosening the pocket. In fact, the savings rate increased by two points in November, which is, together with December, one of the months of most consumption.
The association of large consumer companies, Aecoc, the largest organization in the sector, warns: the fact that the savings rate increases means that people are stopping consuming. That, despite the fact that at this time the expense increases by 30% compared to the rest of the year.
"The consumer sector is optimistically facing this stage in which a good part of the results of the year is played, although it observes with some caution the start of 2020. We must not forget that uncertainty has led to maximum savings levels in our country - fruit of an exercise of containment by the consumer - and that, in a context like the current one, companies need a climate of stability that allows us to recover confidence and consumption, since for consumption there is no nothing worse than uncertainty, "says José María Bonmatí, general director of Aecoc.
The intention of saving of the Spaniards increased almost two points in the month of November, according to the forecasts of the Cetelem observatory, which reveals that 36.5% of the Spaniards affirm to have intention to continue saving, which supposes an increase of 1, 7% compared to the month of October.
The forecasts of Anged, the association of distribution companies that includes about twenty companies such as El Corte Inglés, Carrefour or Ikea, calculates an income growth of 2% for the sector as a whole. Its president, Javier Millán-Astray, said a few days ago that this advance in consumption will depend on the formation of a government "stable and with a good program" to maintain consumption at this year's levels.
The Christmas consumption studies for this 2019 published these weeks also point to prudence. We will spend more, yes, but growth will not be as high as in previous years. The study of the consultant Deloitte speaks of an intention to spend around 700 euros, including online purchases, although last year the Spaniards budgeted more than they eventually spent.
Black Friday slip
Black Friday, one of the great days of consumption before Christmas, is the best example of this moderation in spending. Sales this year have been weaker and discounts too. In the textile sector, which is one of the protagonists of this day of offers, sales in November fell by about 3%, compared to the increase of more than 3% last year, according to Acotex, the employer of the sector.
There are shops that speak of up to 35% or 40% less billing, according to the Spanish Confederation of Commerce (CEC). Many stores, in addition, have made discounts only on Friday, when in previous years they were extended throughout the weekend, and even the previous week.
Amazon, the ecommerce giant that exported and popularized this phenomenon in our country, has not given global billing figures, and has merely pointed out that it has sold "billions of products."
In supermarkets the slowdown is less noticeable for one reason: it is a very inelastic market, which crises affect less than other sectors (consumers can do without other expenses, but have to eat). Yes, there is a trend this year and it is that "certain products are bought, such as seafood or fish, for example, before Christmas, to freeze it and that it does not come out as expensive as buying it on key dates," sources in the sector explain.
Employment growth for this campaign has moderated. Both Randstad and Adecco give optimistic forecasts for this year, but they reveal that employment will not increase much more than what they did last year at this time.
Carlos Villacastín, director of Adecco Staffing, points out that "we are going through a period of great uncertainty in the markets (elections and long process of government formation, economic indicators that are slowing down) and also in the labor market. The leading indicators such as the Industrial PMI have not been very positive and that foresees a situation of economic slowdown. Despite this, we anticipate a positive Christmas hiring campaign. "
From Randstad, Valentín Bote, director of Randstad Research, points out that "it is clear that the growth is much more moderate than in previous years, something that is mainly explained by the slowdown in the hospitality segment and to a lesser extent of trade. But our forecasts suggest that we will still have a campaign with more hiring than in the past year. "
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