Consumers care more about price than country of origin of food
Grocery shoppers are changing their habits, buying smaller quantities, avoiding impulse buying and picking products rather based on price than whether it's local or imported, Marge Kikas, head of sales for Maxima, told ERR.
Kikas told ERR that several changes can be observed in consumer behavior.
"One is that people buy smaller quantities. People plan what to buy in advance, with many customers walking around the supermarket shopping list in hand. Customers are also trying to avoid impulse shopping," she described.
Kikas also said that people are more likely to replace brand products with private label alternatives. Shoppers keep a keen eye on discounts, which is causing Maxima to ramp up its private label selection.
Maxima sells a wide selection of Latvian, Lithuanian and Polish products, while Kikas suggested that customers care more about price than country of origin of products.
"Cheaper goods sell better," the supermarket chain's representative said, adding that people who clearly prefer Estonian goods are few. "People look at the price. If the Estonian product happens to be cheaper, that is what they buy, while shoppers buy Latvian or Lithuanian if it is cheaper. Many clients decide based on the final price."
Talking about the last six months' price rally, Kikas said that prices have now stabilized in some product categories, while the general price level keeps rising, even if not quite as quickly as in the second half of 2022.
"We can see some alleviation, while final stabilization is still some way off," she said.
Kikas could not say what the next few months could bring as price negotiations are still ongoing but comparing this January to last year's, eggs, mayonnaise, sugar and flour have seen the greatest price advance. Sour cream has also become a lot more expensive, with dairy prices climbing still.
The total turnover of retail trade enterprises in Estonia last year totaled €10.5 billion, marking an increase of 2 percent on year at constant prices, Statistics Estonia said Monday.
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Editor: Karin Koppel, Marcus Turovski