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Polish Consumers Expect Higher Income but Remain Cautious on Spending

FINANCEPolish Consumers Expect Higher Income but Remain Cautious on Spending

Despite numerous challenges related to their financial state, an increasing number of Polish consumers are optimistic about the future, with close to 40% of respondents expecting an improvement in their personal financial situation, according to the latest edition of the “Consumer Signals” study by consultancy firm Deloitte. We are becoming less concerned about rising food prices, but the cost of electricity and gas remains a cause for concern. While most Poles also anticipate increases in fuel prices, the most popular type of car continues to be those with a combustion engine.

Deloitte’s periodic study monitors consumer moods and the impact of factors such as inflation on purchasing decisions. Based on monthly surveys conducted among residents of nearly 20 countries, experts assess the financial condition of a particular society and forecast trends related to both daily transactions and larger expenses, such as buying a vehicle or a holiday trip.

Optimistic Prospects of Poles

The latest reading of consumer moods shows that the cost of living still poses a challenge for many Polish consumers. 45% of respondents (2pp less than the previous month) believe that their financial situation is worse than the previous year. Every third resident of Poland is still concerned about their ability to pay upcoming bills, and every second person will not be able to afford an unexpected expense. The percentage predicting further price increases for the most frequently purchased products remains unchanged (76%). Meanwhile, those stating a lack of money at the end of the month constitute 38% of respondents, 3pp more than in December 2023. Those worried about the state of their savings also constitute 39% of respondents, compared to 37% a month earlier.

Despite many challenges, more and more Poles seem to look into the future with optimism. The percentage of people expecting a rise in personal income has increased by 4pp to 48%, and 38% (+1pp) expect an improvement in their financial situation. 65%, 5pp less compared to the previous edition of the study, assume an increase in the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages. 56% of respondents predict higher clothing prices (-3pp). The percentage of people pointing to a possible increase in the prices of alcohol and tobacco, as well as fuel prices, remains unchanged (65 and 68% respectively). 72% (+2pp) predict an increase in household utility costs.

The prospect of higher bills is one of the reasons for Poles’ concern about their personal financial condition. The rising cost of living is a particular challenge for those who struggle to save part of their earnings at the end of the month, which in turn translates into concerns about the state of their savings. At the same time, fewer and fewer consumers expect food price increases, and almost every second person expects an increase in personal income. It can therefore be assumed that in the coming months, sentiments regarding personal financial situation should improve – says Michał Pieprzny, partner, leader of the consumer goods sector team, Deloitte.

Concerns about future price levels apply not only to Poland but also to other countries. The highest percentage of residents fearing further cost increases were recorded in South Africa (84%), Spain (82%), France (82%), and Mexico (76%). At the other end of the spectrum of concerns about inflation are the Netherlands (73%), India (67%), Japan (63%), and Saudi Arabia (62%).

Choosing Cars with Combustion Engines

According to Eurostat data, the number of passenger cars in Poland oscillates around 680 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants, which is one of the highest results among EU countries. The results of the latest edition of Consumer Signals confirm European data: 67% of Poles own or lease a car. Nearly half of them are not older than eight years, while cars that are 15 years and older constitute over a quarter of all used passenger cars.

Despite the growing popularity of vehicles with alternative drivetrains, Polish drivers are attached to traditional solutions. When asked about the preferred drivetrain in a new vehicle, 55% of surveyed indicated a combustion engine. 18% of answers were related to a hybrid engine, and only 6% of respondents expressed interest in a fully electric vehicle. At the same time, every fifth consumer does not yet know what will power their new car.

The results of the study indicate that Poles do not plan to visit car dealerships soon. Only 17% are considering buying a car over the next six months. Among those decided on a change, there is a greater interest in cars straight from the showroom. Although 62% of cars currently driven in Poland were used at the time of purchase, 52% of those planning to buy intend to acquire a completely new vehicle. The main reasons for deciding to change are the lack of profitability in investing in the current car (25% of respondents) and readiness or desire to change the vehicle (22%).

Despite many initiatives aimed at promoting zero and low-emission cars, Poles show an attachment to combustion engines. On the other hand, over 20% of consumers seem open to vehicles with alternative drivetrains, which presents an opportunity for companies betting on electromobility. Plans of cities to limit the possibility of entering downtown by the oldest and most polluting vehicles are also important. Whether an offer of cars other than those with combustion engines will be interesting enough for the Polish driver will depend on many factors, such as vehicle prices, availability of fast charging infrastructure, or programs of public subsidies – says Bartek Swatko, director, leader of the Automotive sector in Poland, Deloitte.

About the Study

The latest version of the study was conducted at the end of January 2024. This was the 51st edition conducted globally and the 42nd including Polish consumers. In total, Deloitte’s experts surveyed residents of 19 countries, including Poland – 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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