Georgy Ostapkovich, director of the Center for Conjunctural Research at the Higher School of Economics, believes that the country's residents will spend less on New Years this year, although there will be a holiday in every home. Product inflation will be 4% by 2019.
- The income of the country's residents is falling, how will this affect the holiday?
- We will end 2020 with a fall of 4% - 4.5% in terms of real disposable cash income, in relation to 2019. In absolute terms, this is more than two trillion of lost income for the country's population. All people received 60-62 trillion in 2019, that is, minus 4% is 2.4 trillion rubles of lost money in 2020. If people do not receive income, their final consumption for non-food products and services naturally decreases. Therefore, I think that the total cost of people for the New Year will be 3% - 3.5% less than the previous year. But some catastrophes, from the economic point of view, will not happen. People will celebrate this holiday anyway. And, believe me, trade, starting from December 15, will receive a month and a half of sales, despite the fact that incomes of the population are falling. But four percent is a very large drop in income.
- How will costs be distributed in online and offline trading? Which segment will grow more?
- This question is insignificant. You need to watch how the money will be spent. Whether they buy online or offline is a second or third row problem. Those who live in big cities where the delivery system is developed will use online stores. Of course, online sales will grow on New Year's Eve compared to previous years. But there is no fundamental difference, this will not affect the volume of final consumption. Online itself has increased into a pandemic, and there will be orders and deliveries on New Year's.
- How has the pandemic affected purchasing activity?
Today, some people are in increased cognitive dissonance due to self-isolation and coronavirus attack. And when people are under psychological stress, they often make decisions that researchers don't understand. Someone limits purchases, and someone, regardless of their income, increases them so that there is some kind of joy. It is bad for the economy when people are in cognitive dissonance, wherever they work - whether as a doctor, metallurgist, or someone else. When a person experiences dissonance, his productivity falls. All sorts of options are possible, but from the point of view of trade and final consumption, I do not expect any unprecedented situations before the New Year. Moreover, I don't expect an inflationary surge. Food inflation will be a maximum of 4.2% compared to December 2019.
- Have you calculated the cost of the festive table? How much money are people willing to spend on gifts?
- These are socio-economic surveys. I don't really trust them. There are always narrow samples. I am guided by the actual data of Rosstat - on income, on trade turnover. I think that 3% - 3.5% less goods and services will be purchased.
- How will tourism and the entertainment industry feel on New Year's holidays?
- In tourism, in connection with the pandemic, I expect a sharp drop in cross-border movements. But this failure can be compensated by goods. People who save money every year for New Year's trips to Egypt, Turkey or Europe - and this goes for a pretty decent amount - they will save something, and spend something on goods. Now the consumer model has changed its mentality. People switched from consumption to savings in order to somehow minimize possible losses. Just in case, people make savings. They will send part of this money to savings, and part to New Year's purchases of goods and services.
- Will domestic tourism grow?
- It may increase, but I would not think that it will be a high trend. People will go to local points, they are generally cheaper. But this cannot be compared with the amount that would have been spent on cross-border travel. In December, the 13th salary, annual dividends will go. December in terms of income is the highest month of the year in all industries. In general, the entire service sector, all its segments - entertainment, tourism, travel (aviation and rail transport) - are expected to have large drops of up to 30% - 40%, and entertainment businesses may lose 50% - 60% of the 2019 New Year estimate. This is the most affected direction. This is force majeure. And people will save on this and spend money on other goods and savings.
- How will the "Olivier" index change?
- We did not do direct New Year examinations. There is a philosophical moment here - the Russian soul. A Russian person, so that his income does not happen, for him the New Year is "give, but make a gift", give, but celebrate with your family. This is such a psychological moment, a holiday, when people do not spare their incomes, go into debt, but buy everything they need to celebrate. The price of the "Olivier" index will rise by a maximum of 4% - 5%. People will buy this product and will make Olivier salad (Russian salad - noted by Novye Izvestia), but they will do it in smaller quantities. It is customary for us to make such a volume for the New Year that it would be enough for a few more days. And this year they will do as much as necessary for the festive table.