Staunton, February 14 – There are many indicators of the depth of an economic slump. One of the most useful is to identify what people have decided they can do without and what despite everything they assume they must have. In Russia today, people are buying less of everything with a single exception – alcoholic beverages, a Nielsen survey finds.
Last year, Russians spent 4.3 percent on alcohol than they did in 2018, although because of price rises, they bought 0.6 percent less in volume. Nonetheless this segment of the market was the only one that showed growth in the Russian economy, the firm says (finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/v-rossii-upali-prodazhi-vsekh-tovarov-krome-alkogolya-1028902454).
Another indication of economic hardship, however, hit even this sector. Russians purchased significantly more alcohol in bottles smaller than half a liter. That portion of the retail alcohol market went up by 14.4 percent as measured by price and 13.2 percent as measured by volume, Nielsen reports.
The only part of the alcohol market which showed a decline was for vodka. Russians spent 0.1 percent less on vodka last year, a reduction that bought them 1.7 percent less in volume. But they more than made up for this by spending on other alcoholic beverages.
They spent 4.1 percent more on beer, 26 percent more on gin, 15.8 percent on whiskey, and 9.4 percent more on tequila. Those figures are truly dramatic and very worrisome when compared to reductions in spending on food and clothing.