You have 3 free articles left this month. Get your free Basic subscription now and gain instant access to more.

COVID-19 pandemic shifts consumer spending habits in Bulgaria - Revolut

COVID-19 pandemic shifts consumer spending habits in Bulgaria - Revolut Photo:Revolut/All rights reserved.

April 15 (SeeNews) - Consumer spending behaviour in Bulgaria has shifted due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, with online merchants seeing the biggest spike in demand, UK-based fintech company Revolut said on Wednesday.

The pandemic has had an impact on the increase in online activity and transactions in Bulgaria - Romania-based online retailer eMAG witnessed a 180% increase in the number of transactions, while the online transactions of Singapore-headquartered food delivery online platform Foodpanda and California-headquartered interactive and digital entertainment giant PlayStation jumped by 172% and 126%, respectively, Revolut said in a statement citing data collected from 200,000 local Revolut customers for the March 1-April 10 period.

Additionally, retailers such as Amazon saw significant increases in transactions (+70%) over the period, while the popular restaurant chain also enjoyed an upsurge of 42% during the Covid-19 lockdown, the fintech company said.

As regards the business of the biggest supermarket chains in Bulgaria, all of them report a decrease in the number of transactions compensated by sensible increases in individual transaction volumes. For example, the number of transactions at discount chain Lidl Bulgaria, part of Germany's Lidl Stiftung & Co, fell by 20% in the period under review but individual transaction volume grew by 33%.

In general, people are making 22.25% fewer transactions at major supermarkets in Bulgaria, while the payments they do make are 34.25% higher, Revolut noted adding that spending behaviour trends in the capital city of Sofia were no much different from those in other big cities such as Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas and Rousse.

According to Revolut, local bars, restaurants and fast-food chains have suffered the greatest reductions in transactions, by 89%, followed by transport with a reduction of 87.5%. This is due to lockdown restrictions imposed by the government.

As of March 13, Bulgaria is in a state of emergency declared over the COVID-19 outbreak and will maintain this state until May 13.

The lockdown measures have severely reduced physical card payments across all spending categories, with the number of physical card transactions dropping by 55% since the beginning of March, Revolut also said.

"Since March 1st, the number of online transactions has increased by 52%, while the volume of individual transaction has risen by 35%. The date indicates that in general people are spending more online, which is likely related to increasing number of businesses adapting to online payments during the lockdown," the fintech company noted.

Meanwhile, in the past month, people have been transferring money (p2p payments) 13% less often. However, p2p volumes overall remain stable with a slight increase of 7% since March 1.

"Currency markets have been highly unstable in recent weeks, with some of the most volatile periods of trading on record," Revolut added.

Revolut, founded in 2015 by former investment bankers Nikolay Storontsky and Vladyslav Yatsenko, provides digital alternative of banks - it offers banking services including global money transfers in 29 currencies, ATM withdrawals in 120 currencies, cryptocurrency exchange as well as mobile phone insurance and budgeting services. Revolut has over 100 million customers in Europe.

Dante International SA is among the biggest companies in SEE. You can download our SEE Top 100 ranking here or subscribe to our free Top 100 newsletter here