90% of Romanians prefer local consumption, says pan-European study

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The 2019 edition of the Pan-European Study “L’Observatoire Cetelem” reveals the perception of Europeans about local consumption and their desire to consume more responsibly. According to the study, there is a new global trend that promotes products manufactured locally or regionally. Local products are undoubtedly more and more appreciated, being preferred by 89% of Europeans. In addition, 90% of Romanians state that they prefer to consume locally, thus encouraging market economy (aligning to Austrians – 93%, Germans – 92% and Italians – 92%).

L’Observatoire Cetelem 2019 was conducted in 17 European countries on a sample of 13,800 people aged 18 to 75 years. In Romania, the study was based on a sample of 800 respondents.

Local consumption is gaining ground among Europeans and, above all, among Romanians. 90% of Romanians prefer local products, which they consider to be more qualitative than imported ones. They perceive local consumption as a reflection of their own values, believing that this habit can generate a positive impact in the community. 34% of Romanians believe that the purchase of local products is an act of patriotism, 31% see this as an important objective to be pursued in the future and 30% consider that such an attitude is an expression of national pride.

When looked at it from the perspective of a catalyst that will help protect the environment, Europeans’ opinion on local consumption may vary as they are more complex: while only 22% of Romanians are convinced that choosing to purchase locally manufactured products leads to protecting the environment, the average of European countries is 42%, with Sweden (61%), Austria (55%) and Italy (47%) leading the way.

As consumers, we have a lot more power than we are aware of and it is extremely important to realize that our consumption habits are affecting both the society we live in and the market economy as well as the environment. In Romania, more and more people embrace local consumption and appreciate its benefits. Whether they are doing so to support the labour market, to generate economic growth, for patriotic reasons or from environmental concerns, for 45% of Romanians the development of local consumption is a priority and over half of them (52%) are of the opinion that it is important to encourage local consumption and locally manufactured products. The appetite for local products also encourages the local producers and is definitely a recognition of the benefits deriving from sustainable and responsible production models” said Bruno Leroux, CEO of BNP Paribas Personal Finance, Bucharest Branch.

However, Europeans highlight the fact that they encounter shortcomings when it comes to the availability of local products and that the agri-food sector is the best represented at both the European (93%) and Romanian (95%) levels. In the case of furniture, household appliances and equipment, 79% of Romanians say they can easily find products manufactured locally or regionally, Romania being above the European average of only 59%. When talking about the availability of hygiene and beauty products the Romanian market is again more generous (76%) than the European average (55%). A strong representation on the local Romanian market is also enjoyed by the textile industry, with 72% of Romanians considering that there is a varied offer on the market, as opposed to the European average, which is 54%.

Regarding purchasing preferences, 94% of the Romanians choose, always or most of the time, to buy food that is produced in Romania, 71% prefer local hygiene and beauty products, 73% choose household equipment locally manufactured, 67% opt for clothing articles produced in the country or in the region, and only one third of them opt for a car (34%) or for Hi-Fi equipment (31%) of local provenience.

Nonetheless, their desire to consume local products is hampered by a series of price-related aspects, a barrier difficult to overcome when a country’s economic growth is situated on downward trend. Although local consumption is viewed, at European level, as responsible consumption, when discussions about prices pop up, over half of Romanians (53%) believe that local products have higher costs than imported ones. However, 2 out of 3 consumers are prepared to make financial efforts in order to purchase local products.

Romanians’ self-confidence and the confidence in their own country

The results of the 2019 L’Observatoire Cetelem also serve to confirm the optimism of the European citizens. The average score of this indicator exceeds the 5 points “limit”, reaching up to 6.1 points this year (5.2 in 2018, 4.9 in 2017 and 3.7 in 2013).

Although they believe that their personal circumstances have improved, Europeans consider that their country’s situation has remained broadly unchanged. They appear to be more confident about their personal circumstances rather than about the circumstances related to their country’s situation, the average of this indicator being between 5.8 and 6.1 points. Romanians show an increased optimism over their personal circumstances (6), ranking fifth in the category of the most optimistic respondents, along with Denmark (7.1), Norway (6.8), the United Kingdom (6.6 ) and Germany (6,5), unlike the Bulgarians (4,8) and the Hungarians (4,7), who are less confident.

After significant economic growth in 2017, the second half of 2018 saw the first signs of a deceleration that was also confirmed in 2019. In the euro zone, the estimated average economic growth ranges between 1.8% and 2.5%, while for Romania the forecast is 3.4%, a percentage above the European average, but lower than the previous years (4% in 2018 and 6.9% in 2017). In this respect, Romanians are particularly worried about the situation in their country (4,4), although, when it comes to their purchasing power, 36% of Romanians believe that their purchasing power has increased, while for 64% of Romanians the purchasing power decreased (32%) or remained stable (32%).

L’Observatoire Cetelem 2019 reveals that Europeans’ purchasing intentions have grown in almost all retail sectors, despite a slowdown regarding GDP everywhere in Europe. They are still avid consumers, and especially in Romania. Similar to the previous years, most Europeans (60%) choose to invest in travel and leisure activities, with households (43%) and smart phones (37%) completing their preferences. They would prefer local and globally responsible consumption but the main criterion they take into account when choosing to buy a product remains the price” added Pascal Roussarie, Deputy Director Brand, Communication and Advertising, BNP Paribas Personal Finance, Levallois Perret Branch.

A greater desire to save than to spend

The perception of Europeans over their purchasing power becomes prudent when it comes to their intentions to spend and the desire to save as much as possible. Thus, 49% of Europeans have chosen to save, while only 41% expect to spend more over the next 12 months.

In the top of the ranking concerning those who desire to save more, Romanians (58%) are ranked fifth, after Norwegians (71%), Portuguese (64%), Swedes (63%) and Britons (59%). Regarding the intention to spend more over the next 12 months, Romania (63%) is among the top four European countries at the top of the ranking, together with Slovakia (73%), Bulgaria (62%) and the Czech Republic (60%). 71% of Romanians would like to spend more, but only 5% of them afford to do so, while 29% say they do not intend to spend more over the next year.

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