Consumption remains in Covid slump

Consumption remains in Covid slump
Image: National Bank of Belgium

Even though Belgian restaurants, bars and non-food stores have been allowed to reopen for a long time, consumption has not yet recovered to pre-lockdown levels.


Avoiding stores

More than two thirds of respondents said they are shopping less often, a study by the National Bank of Belgium has found out. One in five (mostly in the high-risk category of people over 65) have even completely stopped going to stores.


Even worse: people who are continuing to visit stores, still are spending less than before. This evolution is the clearest in younger people, and seems to be motivated by measures to stop people from going to bars and restaurants - and from funshopping. The fear of contracting the new coronavirus is palpable throughout all sections of the population.


Rather obviously, the entertainment sector is - along with restaurants, bars and fashion stores - the biggest victim in this crisis. Other sectors in trouble are personal services (like hairdressers) and sports activities.


Food and e-commerce boom

Food is the biggest exception: most respondents are spending more in supermarkets. The survey sees two main reasons: people are eating more at home (and more consciously as well), and food prices have risen during this crisis.


Online is another major beneficiary from the pandemic: half of the population is buying more online than before the crisis. And what is more: the lion's share say that they expect their changed consumption habits to continue for the foreseeable future.