Croatian citizens are expected to spend HRK 15.3 billion over the coming holidays, HRK 500 million more than a year ago, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) said on Saturday.
The estimate refers to the period from December 1 to January 1. Retail is the main driver of the holiday consumption and it is estimated that it will generate about HRK 14 billion, Tomislava Ravlic of the HGK told a press conference.
The HRK 15.3 billion spending estimate is based on the tax reform and wage growth, another good tourist season, higher consumer optimism and record-high employment, she said.
For the past ten years, December has been the period of highest spending in a year, Ravlic said, adding that HRK 8-10 billion was spent during the "classic" months and up to HRK 14 billion during July and August in record tourist seasons.
The highest spending in December is recorded in the week before Christmas, she said.
Retail has been stable for the past five years and turnover has been recording growths since August 2014, with the exception of four months of decline and one of being stable, Ravlic said, adding that in the first nine months of this year trade was 3.7% higher than at the same time in 2018.
She also underscored changes in consumer habits. Previously, the majority of citizens worried about the cost of living, whereas now the majority (29%) prioritise health, 21% the cost of living and 20% the work-life balance.
"This tells us that the economy has stabilised and that consumer optimism has increased and that, despite problems, our citizens live better, i.e. that the standard is better," Ravlic said.
She also mentioned that in Europe 50% of the people who use the Internet also shop online, as against 27% in Croatia.