Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Croatian 2022 Tourist Season: 24% Percent More Spent Than 2019!

July the 5th, 2022 - The Croatian 2022 tourist season has been beyond excellent so far, and tourist spending is 24 percent better than it was back during the pre-pandemic, record year of 2019.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, tourist traffic is slowly but absolutely surely returning to pre-crisis figures, and data from Croatia's highly praised eVisitor system shows that in the first half of this year, 83 percent of arrivals and 94 percent of overnight stays were achieved compared to the record year of 2019. The financial results for the Croatian 2022 tourist season so far are even better.

Data from the Tax Office shows that in the first six months of this, fiscal year bills/receipts issued accounting for a huge 12.8 billion kuna were fiscalised, which is 129 percent better than back in the same period last year and 24 percent more than during 2019.

"The current results we're achieving are almost at the level of those from back during 2019. The data so far is particularly important because it all confirms the increasingly significant demand for Croatia outside the main summer months and the positive results of activities aimed at making Croatia recognisable as a sustainable and quality destination which can be visited and enjoyed throughout the whole year,'' said Nikolina Brnjac, Minister of Tourism and Sport.

In the first six months of 2022, despite a war on European soil breaking out, due to which it was feared that the Croatian 2022 tourist season could be disrupted, Croatia was visited by 5.7 million tourists who realised an impressive 24.7 million overnight stays. The share of foreign tourists in overnight stays stands at almost 87 percent.

Traditionally, guests from Germany (6.1 million), Austria (2.4 million), and Poland (1.3 million) realised the most overnight stays in the country. Most of those overnights were spent in hotels (7.5 million). Negligibly fewer nights were recorded in private apartments - 7.4 million, while campsites recorded 5.1 million overnight stays.

Istria is the most popular destination of all so far in the Croatian 2022 tourist season!

There have been no significant changes in the attractiveness of various locations either, and in the first half of this year, the most overnight stays were realised in gorgeous Istria (7.9 million) and Split-Dalmatia County (4.2 million). The most popular destinations are Rovinj (1.3 million overnight stays) and Dubrovnik (1.2 million). They're followed by Porec (1.1 million), then by Zagreb (909,000 overnight stays).

As for June 2022 when compared to June 2019, 89 percent of 2019's arrivals and 98 percent of 2019's overnight stays were achieved. Expectations are also very high for the two prime tourist months, July and August.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Monday, 9 August 2021

Croatian Spending Increases, 113 Billion Kuna More Spent Than in 2019

August the 9th, 2021 - Croatian spending increases signal the long awaited recovery process for the domestic economy, with as much as 113 billion kuna more spent so far in 2021 than back during pre-pandemic, record 2019!

As Morski writes, the Croatian spending increase is seeing much more spent than was spent back in 2019, with consumption records being set. For the first time, Croats spent the most in July, and not during August as was typically the case before. As of today, Croats have spent 113 billion kuna more than they did back in 2019.

The fact that the sale of luxury cars is progressing like never before speaks for itself and it's almost as if there had never been an unprecedented global public health crisis. That isn't all, brand new apartments are being reserved and snapped up before the builders even arrive at the construction sites.

It didn’t take long for Croats to forget about the pandemic-induced economic crisis that rocked the world last year and current Croatian spending habits are well and truly reflecting that stance.

On July the 30th, 2021, the Croatian spending/consumption record was broken. Receipts and bills worth a massive 926 million kuna in total were issued, which is the highest in terms of Croatian spending in one day since the introduction of fiscalisation in the country.

During the pandemic which dominated 2020, Croatian residents sat at home and saved more than 15 billion kuna, which they're now out spending, economists point out.

''In a way, they were waiting for the uncertainty surrounding the public health crisis to pass so that they could start spending their cash. The recovery of consumption and its significant growth has a positive effect on the situation in the state budget, given the VAT revenues, which are its most important item,'' explained economist Iva Tomic.

In the first half of this year, almost 6,000 more cars were purchased than at the same time last year, and the most luxurious ones are doing especially well - for example, twice as many Porsches were sold.

Apartments were also sought, and a brand new residential complex will be built on the site of some dilapidated barracks in the very centre of Zagreb. Although the construction has not even started, the apartments are already being purchased, despite the high price of up to 4,000 euros per square metre. It has been said that this real case of consumer fever after a pandemic-dominated year hasn't come as much of a surprise to psychologists.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Friday, 23 April 2021

Coronavirus Pandemic Alters Croatian Shopping, Consumption Habits

April the 23rd, 2021 - The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has well and truly changed the entire world as we have come to know it, making things we took for granted difficult to imagine now, such as easy and cheap travel for leisure, and even walking around shopping centres for hours on end without the need for masks or social distancing. Just how has the pandemic changed Croatian shopping and consumption habits?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes, the world's largest online retailer, Amazon, under the influence of the coronavirus pandemic, increased its turnover by 38 percent. Thanks to retail innovation, Amazon's figure of 280 billion US dollars has grown to a staggering 386 billion. Although online stores aren't something new, grocery retail has so far mostly remained in the physical ''world'', with people going to large supermarkets in person, but with the arrival of the global pandemic, the way we buy groceries has also changed.

While some tried online shopping for the first time only during the pandemic, others took advantage of the opportunity to adapt quickly and opted for innovations that bring changes in an industry where there have been no tectonic changes since the very invention of the supermarket. The results of research into consumer habits are an indication that in order to stay on the market, it's necessary to change the way of doing business and use digital technologies to better adapt to customer needs.

Changes caused by the pandemic

When it comes specifically to Croatian shopping and consumption habits, the research conducted revealed that back at the very beginning of the pandemic, there was a considerable increase in the use of e-commerce and a change in consumer habits.

During the pandemic, 60.7 percent of Croatia's respondents mostly chose to shop online, but 39.3 percent of them stayed loyal to the traditional way of doing shopping. As many as 55 percent of respondents decided to go to the store once a week, while 13.6 percent of them did so several times a week. To inform themselves about products and services before buying them, 67.9 percent of the respondents used information platforms such as Google to find answers to questions.

Trends across the world are an indicator that in the future we will find practical solutions such as self check outs and the use of robots when shopping. Some of these solutions were presented by well-known retail chains well known to Croats, while in our country, the modernisation of the industry is still expected.

Self-service cash registers in our hands

In neighbouring Slovenia, the retail chain Mercator has introduced the M-scan service, which replaces traditional self-service cash registers and enables purchases via mobile phones. M-scan and similar solutions speed up the shopping process, are cheaper to perform than self-service cash registers, and are being tested worldwide.

Amazon has opened several stores in the USA under the name GO, where a system of sensors and cameras recognises purchased products, and a similar smart shopping trolley system is being tested by the Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo.

Robots are part of the solution

With self check outs as a trend in retail, the use of robots is an increasingly common solution for fast and efficient business, and this could be the case for the Croatian shopping experience of the future too. The Ocado logistics system seems like something you should see in science fiction movies, but it’s actually a British online retail chain where robots work in a fully automated warehouse, boasting 35 percent sales growth last year.

On the other hand, robots could soon be walking around with people in Decathlon stores. With computer vision technology and RFID readers, the state of the stock and the items on the shelf will be monitored with the help of the Simba robot, which will provide trade and additional insight into consumer behaviour.

FairPrice, a supermarket chain based in Singapore, is working on testing the use of robots in food delivery. After completing the purchase of groceries, the customer can return to their activities because the bags will be delivered to them by a robot, and the mobile application will give confirmation of the agreed collection with a QR code.

While much of the above might seem totally unrealistic in relation to the Croatian shopping experience as we know it, standing around in lines at Konzum and trying to shove what we've purchased in a bag at the same rate as the cashier fires the items towards you, robotics in Croatia is advancing, and it could become a reality sooner than we might think.

The global pandemic has accelerated the process of change in the retail industry in a way that was previously unimaginable. The frequent use of contactless payments, which is becoming an increasing preference of customers so as to avoid touching too many items or indeed money, has reduced the need for contact, while the use of innovations in trade is an indicator of the need for digital transformation, which will not bypass the Croatian shopping experience of the future, or the wider domestic market.

For more, make sure to follow our lifestyle section.

Saturday, 20 March 2021

How Has Coronavirus Pandemic Altered Croatian Consumer Habits?

March the 20th, 2021 - Just how has the ongoing coronavirus pandemic affected Croatian consumer habits, the typical household budget and the way we spend money in general? With economic woes rife and restrictions to certain economic entities still in force, the bag is a mixed one.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ana Blaskovic/Jadranka Dozan writes, over recent months, we have often heard how working from home has largely replaced the purchase of fashionable clothing and footwear with tracksuits, slippers and trainers, and how less money has generally been spent on these items since the coronavirus pandemic struck.

Many will also say that their car's fuel tank is lasting longer, but also that their costs of (tele)communications have increased, as well as the figures on bills for some other "overhead" items. The scale of changes in living and consumer habits today has left a mark on what typical Croatian household consumption looks like.

Among what was looked at in regard to Croatian consumer habits includes data on inflation and the consumer price index (CPI). A few days ago, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) published data for the month of February, according to which, for the first time in the past year, the index of these prices in year-on-year comparisons had a positive note to it. After a 0.3 percent drop back in January, the annual inflation so measured in February also stood at 0.3 percent, but was encouragingly rising.

The CBS consumer price index is calculated on the basis of a representative basket of about 890 products. Each month, about 38,000 prices are collected from within a given sample of outlets.

In order to preserve representativeness, the coverage of goods and services is revised once a year, and given the circumstances of the ongoing pandemic, the CBS has included some new products in its basket for the year 2021. According to the Institute, these are protective face masks, disposable gloves and hand sanitizer.

Back in December 2020, Eurostat issued recommendations to EU member states on the calculation of what are known as ''weights'' in order to include the effects of these coronavirus-induced changes in personal consumption expenditure.

As such, in its calculation of the consumer price index, the decline in ''weights'' compared to 2020 was recorded in the following categories: Restaurants and hotels, Transport, Recreation and culture, Clothing and footwear, Education, according to the CBS, which delved into Croatian consumer habits during the pandemic.

At the same time, compared to last year, food and non-alcoholic beverages have a higher "weight" attached to them; Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels; Health; Communication, miscellaneous goods and services; Alcoholic beverages and tobacco; Furniture, home furnishings and regular household maintenance.

A comparison of the data from this and last (2020) February shows, for example, that the ''consumption weight'' for food and non-alcoholic beverages increased from 26 to 27.2 percent, while the share of clothing and footwear decreased from 6.4 to 5.7 percent. The costs of housing and related "utilities" (electricity, water, gas, etc. utilities) and maintenance costs in February last year were 16.3 percent higher in terms of weight, and today their weight is 17.7 percent.

Expenses related to personal transport or personal vehicles (purchase, parts, repairs, fuel) in the structure today make up 13.3 percent, while a year ago they "weighed" more than 15 percent. The ''weight'' of transport services (road, rail, sea) was reduced from 1.5 percent down to one percent. But equally, the weight of expenditures related to communications, primarily telephone and Internet, is expected to continually increase.

The well known British BBC has also been working on adjusting the consumer basket to calculate the cost of living these days. The statistical office over in the United Kingdom has refreshed its list of more than 700 products, not only with those items such as disposable masks, hand sanitizers, slippers or tracksuits, but also with, for example, home workout equipment, smart watches, electric cars, and items which reflect the result of attempted healthier eating trends on that Northern European island.

When looking specifically at Croatian consumer habits however, there was less intervention in the coverage of that same proverbial basket, but the ''weight adjustments'' haven't gone without affecting the value of the IPC.

Back in February this year, consumer prices rose equally (by 0.3 percent) on both annual and monthly levels. Annual inflation across the EU averaged 1.3 percent, still well below the ECB's target of "close but below 2 percent", and Croatia is among the 14 member states with accelerating inflation.

The category in the ''basket'' when it comes to Croatian consumer habits that pushed up monthly inflation last month was transportation, up 1.7 percent on average. Transportation, which has seen a 13.3 percent drop in the consumer basket, has been affected by higher oil prices, which have been on an upward trajectory on global stock exchanges over the past four months or so. More expensive transport costs back in February was mitigated by 0.1 percent (on average) cheaper food and non-alcoholic beverages. Although the decline is more modest than in transport, a higher ''weight'' was crucial in the inflation calculation, as food participates in the basket with as much as 27.2 percent.

Annual inflation, on the other hand, was primarily affected by higher alcohol and tobacco prices. They were 4.5 percent higher in February than they were back during the same month last year (with a so-called weight of 5.2 percent). Growth was also recorded in the category of recreation and culture (1.3 percent) and communications (1.2 percent). In the last year, the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages were lower by 0.8 percent, while the costs of housing and utilities (water, electricity, gas and other such items), which make up 17.7 percent of household costs, were 0.9 percent cheaper.

With the spectacularly embarrassing failure of plans for rapid vaccination across the European Union, the pandemic looks set to continue. However, the forecasts for this year are still in the realm of optimism.

"With the expected recovery of the economy this year, we expect the return of moderate price growth," say analysts from Raiffeisen Bank (RBA). In this light, energy should be influenced by a slight recovery in crude oil prices.

“We expect the average price of Brent crude oil to rise above 70 US dollars per barrel in the second and third quarters of this year, and global crude oil inventories will return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year. On the other hand, rising food prices will slow down, partly due to the global environment and the normalisation of supply chains. Therefore, we expect that the average inflation rate this year will be around one percent,'' they noted from RBA.

For more on Croatian consumer habits, follow our lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Croatian Christmas Period Consumption Down 20% in Pandemic-Hit Year?

As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 16th of December, 2020 - last year, Croatia's residents spent a record 15.3 billion kuna during the festive period, but the ongoing coronavirus crisis has left its mark on Croatian Christmas consumer habits.

Although there is no estimate for what has been an absolutely dire 2020 yet, the specialised consulting company in the field of the agri-food sector, Smarter, estimates that the total consumption of food and beverages will fall by up to 20 percent in December, marking a significant change in the typical Croatian Christmas shopping spirit.

According to the latest data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, retail consumption in Croatia fell by 7.3 percent back in September when compared to the same month last year, with a decline in retail trade in food, beverages and tobacco products.

At the same time, they estimate better sales and the higher consumption of local Croatian products due to their continued good supply and higher production, which has since been confirmed by the estimate of growth in the value of Croatian agricultural production this year by about one billion kuna, helped along by the support of retail chains.

Smarter added that Croatian Christmas consumption in regard to festivities will be more modest than in previous years (two years ago the calculation of the average ''festive basket'' stood at 2175.98 kuna), but the offer of Croatian products is better than it was before, and meat, fish, wine, fruit, vegetables and other food are being sold at special prices. Online sales also increased significantly (by 13.9 percent in the first half of 2020 according to the CBS).

"We're convinced that the awareness of the need for a turnaround in the sector of agriculture and food production will be further developed and that Croatia will finally get a strategy that will revitalise this production on a sound basis," concluded Smarter.

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