According to ROMIR, in January 2022, after obligatory and basic expenses, the average Russian had 34% of free money. In February, 31.7% of income remained unspent, in March - 19.5%. April free money index amounted to 26%. In May, this figure dropped up to 24%. Data for June is not yet available.
Over the course of six months, trends associated with consumer behavior managed to change polarly: from the post-February consumer boom, austerity and some recovery in consumer demand in certain segments, which still did not recover to pre-crisis levels.
In June, judging by the data of Sberindex (an indicator of spending by Russians on bank cards of Sberbank), people began to spend more, but in a differentiated way. Spending on food products increased by 15%, the non-food segment - a decrease of 5%, the cost of services during the holiday season increased by more than 16%.
In total, by the end of the half year, consumer spending in nominal terms on an annualized basis increased by more than 8%, but with inflation of about 16%, it turns out that spending could not “catch up” with prices. And the decline in real spending by the population is about 8%.
“Already according to May data, we see how buying behavior is stabilizing. The excitement typical of the first months of spring is subsiding. After a sharp rise in April, both the share of spending on consumer goods and consumption per purchase are declining. But the Russians did not have more free money. This indicates that along with spending, the real disposable income of Russians is also declining, ”the director commented to Novye Izvestiya. business lines M-Romir Xenia Paizanskaya.
In the scenario plan for the socio-economic development of Russia for 2023 and for the planned period of 2024 and 2025, the decline in real disposable income of the population this year is expected to be at the level of 6.8%. Wages in real terms are minus 3.8%.
In recent interviews with Novye Izvestia, Doctor of Economics Yevgeny Gontmakher and Candidate of Economic Sciences Konstantin Selyanin emphasized the importance of such an indicator as the real disposable income of Russians. And they explained why it is much more indicative than the growth of nominal incomes of Russians.
Anton Tabakh , Chief Economist of the Expert RA agency, notes that the decline in real disposable income by 6.8% is comparable to the situation in the crisis years of 2009 and 2014. “But the difference is that now the fall is due to inflation, not a dip in earnings. In addition, in the formula for calculating this index, the increase in mortality at older ages due to coronavirus has reduced the denominator, which indicates the number of income recipients. Therefore, if it were not for the consequences of the pandemic, the drop in real disposable income would have shown an even greater figure,” Anton Tabakh explained.
Doctor of Economic Sciences Iosif Diskin, on the contrary, believes that the alarming indicator will still be revised to a more optimistic one. The fall in real incomes of Russians, of course, will occur, but not on such a scale, given the changed forecasts for inflation and falling GDP, as well as taking into account measures to support the population.
“The main limiting factor is the low solvent demand of the population. It is in response to this that the State Duma on Friday, July 15, will consider measures to support vulnerable groups of the population and businesses in order to stimulate effective demand. This, accordingly, is the maintenance of real incomes of the population”, - explained Iosif Diskin.
According to his forecast, the reduction in real incomes of the population this year will not be 6.8%, but about 4%.
“In general, a lot, it is still sensitive and significant. How people react to it is another matter. We have a historical precedent: the Crimean consensus that took shape in 2014. While maintaining confidence in the institutions of power, he made it possible to overcome the difficulties of a similar drop in real incomes of the population in 2015-2016 without significant socio-political consequences. If we manage to maintain the Donbass consensus, then the current reduction in real incomes of the population will not have an impact on the socio-economic situation and will be a stimulating factor for economic recovery”, - Diskin concluded.