A study carried out by credit management service company Intrum shows 65 percent of Estonians reduced their daily expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was the highest figure in Europe. However, the Estonian retail sector has shown signs of rapid recovery.
Estonia was the clear leader in the ranking. The country was followed by France with 47 percent decline and Ireland with 46 percent. Latvia (42 percent) and Lithuania (38 percent) also had higher figures than the European average which was 36 percent.
The coronavirus pandemic had the lease change in consumption patterns in Hungary (21 percent). Austria, Denmark and Germany all had 23 percent.
While Estonian families with children increased their expenses, the situation in the other Baltic countries was the opposite and families reduced spending.
Ilva Valeika, CEO of Intrum Baltic, said: "Considering that the vast majority of respondents in Estonia (79 percent) are dissatisfied with their monthly savings and 32 percent don't even set aside money every month, it is understandable why COVID-19 cut their costs."
Spending habits in Estonia have now seen a rapid recovery.
Data from Statistics Estonia (Statistikamet) shows the retail trade turnover in May was almost the same as in the same month in 2019. It has only decreased by one percent year-on-year.
The growth came mainly from household goods and appliances, hardware and building material stores, as well as in commodity groups such as electronics, books, sports goods, games, toys, flowers and plants.
At the same time, sales revenue in textile, clothing and footwear stores decreased by 22 percent in May.
Intrum, a credit management service company that is active in 25 European countries, conducted the study on COVID-19 in the spring as part of the company's annual European consumer payment report from 2013.
The coronavirus pandemic survey surveyed 4,800 people in 24 European countries. The survey included men and women over 18 who manage all or part of their household finances.
Editor: Katriin Eikin Sein, Helen Wright