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Still economizing, spending carefully, and supporting socially responsible business

Deloitte’s study of consumer sentiment in Ukraine

The year 2023 continued to test the limits of Ukrainian consumers and their ability to change their lifestyle habits and approaches to meet the realities of today. Deloitte Ukraine investigated how the consumer behavior of Ukrainians changed in the second year of the full-scale war. Being the company’s fourth study, it allows tracking the dynamics of the Ukrainians’ purchasing activities by comparing them with the period before the invasion.

“An important sign is a gradual recovery of consumer activities in Ukraine. Some indicators, for example, the food purchase frequency, have already returned to their pre-war levels, while others, such as purchases of electronics and home appliances, clothing, and footwear, are up 25% and 14%, respectively, compared to 2022. This indicates the restoration of consumer confidence, as well as the ability of retail to adapt to new conditions,” says Oleksandr Yampolskyi, Director, Leader of Retail and Wholesale Distribution Group at Deloitte in Ukraine.

Ukrainians continue to economize and buy less

In 2023, Ukrainian consumers still tend to economize—41% to 77% of Ukrainians continue to save money, depending on the category of goods. Although this trend is still strong, positive dynamics is observed in comparison to 2022 (47%–86%). They save the least on medicines, children’s goods, and the purchase of ready-to-eat food.

In food shopping, which makes up a significant share of Ukrainians’ shopping bills, 32% of consumers have increased their spending, with a large part of Ukrainians stockpiling food (47%) and medicines (43%).

At the same time, Ukrainians are rethinking their eating habits and changing their priorities. Thus, in 2023, they decreased dining out: 55% of those surveyed visit restaurants and bars much less often, which is 24% lower than in 2022. On the other hand, cooking at home is growing in popularity (50%). This best describes the temporarily unemployed (53%), freelancers (72%), and those who take care of the household (59%).

Leisure continues to be a low priority in public spending. Thus, 65% of respondents save on entertainment outdoors and 58% of respondents visit cinemas and concerts less often than last year. However, online entertainment is becoming more and more popular: 32% of Ukrainians have increased their spending on TV and streaming channels.

Online shopping is gaining momentum among Ukrainians

The online shopping continues to grow: the frequency of online purchases has increased by 12%. Most often, Ukrainians buy electronics and household appliances (26%), cosmetics and perfumes (19%), as well as clothes and shoes (17%) on the Internet.

Offline shopping remains important in lives of Ukrainians. Compared to 2022, when the frequency of offline purchases dropped significantly to 50% due to the full-scale invasion and security concerns, this year witnesses a certain recovery resulting in a 9% increase in purchases. Food (85%), alcoholic beverages (79%), household goods and household chemicals (72%) are most often bought in traditional stores.

Social support has become a habit: more and more Ukrainians are donating regularly

The civic position remains a key determinant of the consumer behavior in Ukraine. Just like last year, the absolute majority of consumers (70%) continue to boycott manufacturers/sellers of goods that have not left the market of the aggressor country, and donations have become almost as popular as food products. According to the survey, 92% of Ukrainians donate to support the Armed Forces or victims of military operations, which is by 2% more than in 2022. 33% of respondents do it systematically, which is up by 13% compared to last year. The number of our country fellows who now reside abroad and donate on a regular basis has more than doubled, from 17% to 38%.

Ukrainians have the most trust in fundraising by acquaintances, friends, and colleagues. More than 75% of respondents join such initiatives, with an average donation amount being UAH 147. These are followed by large charitable foundations, including Return Alive, the Serhiy Prytula Foundation, and the Lachen (Ihor Lachenkov) fundraising campaigns, to which almost 71% of respondents donate. Also, a significant part of the population—more than 60%—donates via UNITED24, the official fundraising platform, with an average donation amount being UAH 121.

Ukrainians spend more than half of their budget on food products and obligatory payments, which differs from the global trend

This year’s comparison was made between the consumer sentiment of Ukrainians with that of people in Germany, Poland, the USA, Canada, South Africa and with the world average.

Among residents of different countries covered by the study, Ukrainians spend the most on food and obligatory payments. This indicator reaches 66%, which is more than twice the world average. Ukraine is the only country among the studied countries where the expenditure on this category exceeds 50%.

Ukrainians spend significantly less on goods and services that are not vital to human existence. The most noticeable difference is observed in the budget allocation for the following categories:

  • Leisure (including restaurants/cafes), recreation and tourism: in this category, Ukrainians spend 2% of their budget, while residents of Germany – 17%, Poland – 15%, USA – 19%, Canada – 15%, South Africa – 17%.
  • Electronics, household appliances and household goods: in this category, Ukrainians spend 2% of their budget, residents of Germany – 10%, Poland – 12%, USA – 12%, Canada – 10%, South Africa – 14%.

That being said, there is no significant difference between Ukrainians and residents of the compared countries in such categories as clothing and footwear, health care, transport costs, and digital services.

“Despite the war, Ukrainians continue to do their best to support themselves, their loved ones, and their country. Ukrainian consumers are sustainable, responsive, and concerned. They economize, spend carefully, and donate regularly. Active civic position impacts the consumer behavior as firmly as before: 70% of Ukrainians continue to boycott producers/sellers of goods that have not left the market of the aggressor country. We believe that, one day soon, our team will prepare a study covering the “after the victory” period,” concludes Oleksandr Yampolskyi, Director, Leader of Retail and Wholesale Distribution Group at Deloitte in Ukraine.

About the survey

The survey of Ukrainians that formed the basis of the study was conducted during the period from 13 to 28 November 2023 and completed by more than 1,000 respondents representing all regions of Ukraine (other than temporarily occupied territories and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea), aged 18 and older, who use smartphones.

The survey was held by means of online interviews based on a quota sample that corresponds to the social and demographic portrait of Ukrainian people.

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