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Polish consumer sentiment improves slightly but inflation worries persist

REPORTS & ANALYSISPolish consumer sentiment improves slightly but inflation worries persist

The results of the 50th edition of Deloitte’s Consumer Signals survey indicate a slight improvement in Polish people’s attitudes towards personal finance. Although a general sense of financial security has increased, over three-quarters of those surveyed expect further price increases for the most frequently bought items. The survey also asked about smartphone usage habits. Almost every second Polish consumer now has a 5G standard mobile phone. However, this fact does not seem to significantly impact how these devices are used on a daily basis.

The repeated survey by Deloitte monitors consumer sentiments and the impact of factors such as inflation on purchasing decisions. Based on monthly surveys carried out among residents of nearly 20 countries, experts assess the financial condition of a given society and forecast trends in day-to-day transactions and larger expenditures, such as buying a vehicle or paying for a holiday.

Mixed Moods in Poland

The results of the survey conducted in the final days of 2023 reflect the results of the previous edition. 47% of Poles stated their personal financial situation is worse than a year ago, marking a 3 percentage point decrease from November last year. Over half of the respondents are still not prepared for unexpected expenses, and less than 30% (-3 p.p. compared to November) are worried about their ability to meet upcoming payments. On the other hand, the percentage of people expecting an increase in personal income over the next 12 months is 44% (up 2 p.p. since November), and 37% of Poles expect an improvement in their financial situation (+1 p.p.). The persistently high inflation, however, is affecting the mood in Poland. The current pace of price increases means that 37% of respondents, virtually the same as in the previous month, are worried about their savings. Furthermore, over three-quarters of respondents anticipate a dynamic price increase for the most commonly bought items, a hike of as much as 20 p.p.

“The results of the latest Consumer Signals survey show that on the one hand, the percentage of people fearing for their financial situation has slightly decreased. On the other hand, many consumers continue to forecast further price increases. This means that wage growth, combined with simultaneous inflation decline, had a positive effect on consumers’ ability to meet ongoing financial obligations. At the same time, uncertainty about the near future remains high,” says Przemysław Szczygielski, leader of financial sector services in Poland, managing partner of risk management in Poland and the Baltic countries, Deloitte.

Commodities Still Rising

When asked about the expected price levels of alcohol and tobacco in the coming weeks, 65% of respondents, 10 p.p. more than in November, stated they anticipate an increase in this area. At the same time, Poles appear to be more optimistic about fuel costs. Compared to the previous month, the percentage of those expecting rising gasoline, diesel oil, and gas has decreased by 8 p.p to 68%. Meanwhile, 70% of respondents, an increase of 2 p.p. since November, anticipate further food price rises. The same number expect an increase in home utilities (gas, electricity, heating oil, etc.), marking a 4 p.p. decline month-on-month.

Concerns about future price levels are not limited to Poland but are also occurring in other countries. The highest percentages of residents fearing further cost increases were noted in Spain (83%), South Africa (82%), and France (80%). On the other end of the inflation concerns spectrum are the United Arab Emirates (64%), Saudi Arabia (60%), and China (40%).

“The last month of 2023 was a period when the Polish zloty strengthened against the dollar, which in turn led to a decrease in fuel prices at petrol stations. This phenomenon may have improved the mood and expectations of Polish consumers regarding future price levels, but recent geopolitical events will not be without an impact on commodity costs. Considering the increased energy demand in the winter period, energy prices might rise in the coming weeks,” says Przemysław Szczygielski.

About the survey

The latest version of the survey was conducted at the end of December 2023. It was the 50th edition carried out globally and the 41st in which Polish consumers participated. In total, Deloitte’s experts surveyed residents of 19 countries, not only in Poland, but also in Saudi Arabia, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea, Italy, the UK, the US, and the United Arab Emirates.

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