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Polish Retail Sales Down 19.5% in Jan, Online Up 11% (GUS)

COMMERCEPolish Retail Sales Down 19.5% in Jan, Online Up 11% (GUS)

According to the latest data from the Central Statistical Office (GUS), retail sales in January 2024 decreased by 19.5% compared to December 2023. At the same time, a year-on-year comparison showed an increase in the value of online retail sales at current prices (by 11.0%). The share of online sales in overall retail sales in January 2024 increased to 8.8% compared to 8.3% in the same period of the previous year (it was 9.4% in December 2023).

Experts from the Unity Group and Finiaty comment below on the latest data:

Tomasz Gutkowski, Head of Business Development at Unity Group: E-commerce continues to grow. Polish people are increasingly shopping online.

Economic growth forecasts for Poland in 2024 are optimistic – according to analysts from Bank Millennium, the dynamics will amount to 2.9%, and according to PKO BP, it will even be close to 4%. Despite certain differences in forecasts, both institutions agree that the driving force of the economy will be an increasing household consumption index. Its growth will be possible due to an improvement in their real incomes resulting from, among others, wage growth, higher pensions, lower inflation, and increased social benefits.

In January, the GUS’ first reading of retail trade data confirmed experts’ predictions. According to the previously published Baselinker Index, online sales results in January 2024 were 7.9% higher than a year ago. According to this report, there was primarily an increase in the number of orders by 6.8% with a minimal two-percentage-point increase in the average order value. This means that consumers bought more goods, which seems to confirm the consumer confidence indicator, which, according to GUS, improved in January compared to December.

Of course, e-commerce sales in January of this year were weaker than in December 2023, but it is not surprising considering the impact of the holiday season and the associated increased expenditure. According to the Baselinker Index, month on month, the number of orders was smaller by 16.8%, but the average order value in January turned out to be larger. This means that we bought fewer goods, but individually of higher value. What is also noteworthy was that this year’s decrease in sales in the January-December relation was smaller than the decrease in an analogous period a year ago. This data indicates that the value of e-commerce is steadily growing.

Anna Kozłowska, CEO at Finiata: The beginning of the year usually means a breather for trade after the end-of-year hustle associated with the shopping, holiday marathon. We enter another stage of the cycle when consumers limit their spending, also due to New Year’s resolutions. The first quarter of 2024 opens with relatively optimistic inflation data, as it fell below 4% in January, while it reached 6% in December, and even 18% a year ago in February. Of course, lower indicators are good news, but let’s remember that lower inflation does not mean lower prices – they are still rising, just slower.

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