In 2021, Romanians rediscovered the pleasure to travel and networking in restaurants and cafes, study says

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Increasing amounts for travel, entertainment and socializing in restaurants and cafes, gradually recovering the physical shopping adopting at a large scale the e-payment solutions – these are few of the trends noticed amongst above 1.5 million customers of Revolut financial supper-app, last year, in the Romanian market. In the last 12 months, Romanian users counted 107 million transactions and the total volume rose by 19.5% compared to 2020.

Gabriela Simion, Revolut Romania Branch Head said: “2021 confirmed that the Revolut financial super-application is a solution preferred by more and more Romanians to manage their personal and family budget, for secure shopping in the stores and at home, to travel or to spend their free time in a pleasant way. Basically, in 2021, one in five Romanian customers used the Revolut app at least once a day to make a payment, instant transfer or purchase, and our active customer base grew by 43% last year and by 84% compared to the last month of pre-pandemic period (February 2020). We thank our customers for the trust and enthusiasm with which they have embraced our services, and we assure them that we will continue to innovate and add relevant products and services to our super-app, enabling them to manage the financial services as easily as possible, in a predictable manner and with more control over their money”.

Travel expenses exceeded 2019 levels

Last year, Revolut customers in Romania spent the most on shopping (20% of the total volume of transactions), in groceries and supermarkets (15%) and for entertainment (14.7%). The largest budget increases were recorded, compared to 2020, for the category of general expenses (+ 326%), for entertainment (+ 123%) and travel (+ 111%).

In general, the purchases of Revolut customers in Romania have been on an upward trend in 2021, regardless of the category of goods and services purchased, but most transactions were recorded for food and mobility services (transport). More than 30 million transactions were made in grocery stores and supermarkets, reaching a total volume of transactions of EUR 310 million, followed by transactions for transportation – 19.4 million transactions (+ 73% compared to 2020) and EUR 179 million. Mobility has been growing and reported in 2019, with Romanians making four times as many transactions in 2021 as the year before the pandemic, to pay for transportation services.

Revolut data also show that, in 2021, Romanians’ appetite for traveling and socializing has gradually returned to the levels before the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, Romanian users spent over EUR 126 million on travel, double the budgets allocated to this category of spending in 2020, and 80% more than in 2019. Revolut customers also spent in cafes, bars, restaurants EUR 180 million, an increase of 103% compared to 2020 and 150% compared to 2019.

In-store purchases are gradually recovering, but digital payments are preferred

The restrictions imposed by the authorities during 2021, especially during the 4th wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, influenced the consumption behavior of Romanians and, implicitly, the use of Revolut services.

For most of the year, online payments outperformed the number of transactions and volumes traded compared to physical payments, except for the summer period (June-September), when relaxation measures were in place. During the 12 months, 51% of the amounts traded through the Revolut platform by Romanian customers were subject to digital payments, while 49% were physical payments.

In terms of the physical payments / digital payments ratio, July 2021 was the record month, with 57.5% of the expenses made by Revolut customers in the merchants’ points-of-purchase and only 42.5% of digital payments. On the other hand, in November, amid the resumption of health restrictions, but also as a result of the campaigns for the gifting season, e-commerce attracted 58.4% of the total amounts traded, while physical payments only 41.6%. In 2021, the total volume of digital payments was 86.5% higher than in 2020, while physical payments increased by 56% compared to the first year of the pandemic.

Digital payments were preferred for transactions with higher average values ​​(EUR 29 / digital transaction vs. EUR 15 physical transaction), a trend also noticed in 2020 (EUR 29.6 / digital transaction vs. EUR 15 / physical transaction).

However, the most spectacular increase was recorded by smartphone payments, which increased almost 5 times, in the number of transactions in 2021 compared to 2020, and 4 times in the total amount traded. The average value of a smartphone transaction in 2021 was approximately EUR 97.

As for the ATM withdrawals, the amounts traded and the total number of transactions continued to increase in 2021 compared to 2020, although the ratio between the number of cash and non-cash transactions was favorable to electronic or digital trading methods. The ATM withdrawals represented 5% of all transactions, in the last 12 full months.

Buyer profile through Revolut, in 2021

The average Romanian Revolut customer using the super-app intensively for purchases last year had the following traits: 25-34 y.o. (33%), lives in Bucharest or in one of the biggest cities in the country (Cluj-Napoca, Iași, Timișoara, Brașov), makes 16 transactions/ month, on average, through Revolut, mainly for grocery supplies (Mega Image, Lidl, Kaufland, Carrefour, Auchan), mobility and service stations (Bolt, Uber, OMV), general merchandise and electronics shopping (Emag), food delivery services (Glovo, Food Panda), but also for travel (Booking).

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