Polish FMCG market

POLL: Polish people do not believe in a falling food prices scenario

Friday, 10 February, 2023 Food From Poland 40/2023
Currently, 36.6% of adult Poles do not believe that food prices in stores will ever start dropping. On the other hand, 26.7% of consumers are convinced this will not happen this year. These are the two beliefs most frequently expressed in the society. A definite minority of the survey expect the everyday shopping to get less expensive within 4-6 or 7-9 months, accounting for 7.5% and 7.4% of the poll, respectively. 7.2% of the poll were unable to state their opinion in this regard. The experts commenting on the poll results claim that most consumers have a fairly rational approach to the problem of unwavering high prices. They also assure us that prices on store shelves will not drop for a long time, even if the dynamics of their growth slow down markedly.
A poll carried out for the Business Insider Polska on a sample of more than 1,000 Polish people has shown that currently, 36.6% of the survey do not believe that food prices in stores would ever start dropping. On the other hand, 26.7% of respondents believe this will not happen this year.

“The results of the survey clearly show that the Poles have lost their faith in a quick drop of prices. This is not about pessimism. It is just plain to see that consumers have adopted a rational approach to the problem of high prices. Of course, this is not tantamount to accepting it, but our countrymen are trying to face this problem with dignity, although it is getting increasingly difficult. Admittedly, inflation has dropped for the second month in a row, but shopping is not getting cheaper at all. Moreover, a slight drop in the price growth dynamics YoY is not a steady trend yet. I believe it will be a long time before the shelf prices finally  drop. There is a chance that, in the 2nd or 3rd quarter of this year, their growth dynamics will slow down more efficiently, but it seems goods at stores will not get cheaper anymore. The high prices are here to stay for a longer period,” says Dr. Krzysztof Łuczak, a retail market expert and the main economist of the BLIX Group.

It is women more often than men who doubt that prices will ever start dropping. This is predominantly the opinion of people aged 36-55, with secondary education and preferring not to answer the question about their monthly income level. Looking at the entire country, it can be seen that Poles living in rural areas and in towns with populations up to 5,000 people are the main group who do not believe in the drop of prices at all.

“I find these results hardly surprising. Women do the shopping more often than men, so they experience the growth of prices, the diminishing offer of stores, and the dropping purchasing power of their incomes. The inflation process is felt most acutely by less educated people who more frequently have lower incomes. The times are also hard for inhabitants of poorer, smaller towns and villages. All of whom give the most pessimistic answers. Of course, wealthier consumers notice the market changes as well, but find them less painful,” says Dr. Maria Andrzej Faliński, the former long-time CEO of POHID.

The belief that prices will not go down this year is expressed by men more often than by women. This is predominantly the opinion of people aged 18-22. Moreover, it is mainly expressed by Poles with higher education and monthly net incomes of PLN 3000-4999. Across the country, consumers who say so usually live in cities having a population of at least 500,000.

“The fact that this answer has been given most frequently by young people may be a little surprising. This means that this group of shoppers is currently the most skeptical one, although they can think of prices less seriously, as they have no families to provide for yet,” points out Dr. Łuczak.  

A perspective of 4-6 months is the third most frequently chosen answer to the question of when food prices at stores will really start dropping. It was given by 7.5% of the surveyed, slightly more women than men. This belief was mainly expressed by people aged 18-22, with secondary education and monthly net incomes of PLN 3000-4999. Above all, this is the opinion of inhabitants of cities with populations between 20,000 and 49,000 people.

“The third most often expressed belief has been indicated by quite a small group of Poles, rejecting the arguments critical of the official optimism. They show a lack of competence to understand economic information and do their shopping relatively rarely. This is a connection between naivety and weakness of political rather than economic beliefs. So far, there are no rational arguments in favour of any drop of prices at stores. At the most, there is a hypothetical expectation that they will eventually grow at a slower pace. This also includes a psychological element of wishful thinking,” Dr. Faliński comments.

In turn, Dr. Krzysztof Łuczak claims that a small part of the Poles believe in various expectations or promises by politicians that prices will indeed plunge within a couple of months. In the expert’s opinion, no such process will occur, yet one should also pay attention to the fact that this attitude is represented by just a little more than 7% of the survey, which is a low percentage.

“Simultaneously, the survey shows that most consumers do not take the official optimism of the National Bank of Poland and of the government seriously. It has clashed with the price reality, i.e., with the constantly rising prices. This brings about a loss of trust to the government, as well as a, more or less, pessimistic outlook,” the former CEO of POHID remarks.

According to the survey, 7.4% of the poll claim that food prices in stores will start dropping noticeably within 7-9 months. 7.2% have no opinion in this regard. 6.5% of the respondents claim such reality will come within 10-12 months, and 5.6% expect it within 2-3 months. In turn, 2.5% of consumers have already noticed a drop of prices in stores today. 

“Every fortieth surveyed person claims they can already see a drop of prices in stores. Of course, this is not true, but it may be declared by consumers who are not fully capable of the precise assessment of the situation. After many studies and analyses, the market shows that prices in every monitored category are only growing. Most importantly, this trend has been constant for at least 6-8 months,” Dr. Krzysztof Łuczak sums up.

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