Romania’s retail sales increased by 10.1% y/y in 2021 and by 12.6% compared to 2019, according to data released by the statistics office INS.
The overall retail sales index ended the year 2021 on a positive note with a new record for the seasonally-adjusted index — but the big picture shows signs of fatigue and decreasing propensity for consumption among households ahead of rising inflation (utility prices) and amid an uncertain economic outlook.
The so-called ‘revenge shopping’ that occurred after the lockdown for various reasons seems to have reached its end to have reversed in the second half of 2021. Seasonally-adjusted sales of non-food decreased by 1.6% during the last six months of the year.
Non-food sales increased in 2021 at a rate above average, by 13.7% y/y and by 20% compared to 2019. But the trend visible during H2 last year is consistent with expectations for more cautious consumer sentiment.
Food sales have kept growing at a slower but more predictable rate: by 5.5% y/y and by 10.7% versus 2019.
Fuel sales depend to a large extent on mobility restrictions and they surged by 11.6% y/y in 2021 while edging up a modest 2.7% versus 2019.