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Price sensitivity in Central and Eastern Europe

Shopper segmentation according to the Incoma Research and GfK study

The number of families using their car when shopping for FMCG is still growing in the Central and Eastern European markets (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia, Ukraine represented by Kiev, Russia represented by Moscow and St. Petersburg).

Recent study Shopper Typology CEE based on the survey of companies INCOMA Research and GfK shows that more than 21 million of households of the monitored CEE region are mobile when shopping for food and elementary non-food products. And that’s more than 40% of the population. This fact has a broader consequence: mobility gives customers power to be much more selective when choosing their main shopping place and thus react far more sensitively on price levels in various shopping formats. 

Among the most mobile and at the same time the most price sensitive CEE countries are Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia where on average almost 60% of households are very price sensitive when choosing their shopping place. On the other hand, in Romania and Bulgaria mere 25% of households (app. 3 million of households in both countries together) use their car when shopping for food and elementary non-food products.

This correlates with the fact that almost 70% of Bulgarian and Romanian households can’t place the quality of shopping environment - such as arrangement and cleanness - among their top priorities when choosing their shop.

There are vast differences among the countries of the CEE region regarding the proportional representation of particular shopping behaviour styles. According to the Shopper Typology CEE study, the most common shopping type in the monitored CEE region – out of the 8 basic shopper types defined in the Shopper Typology study - is the Thrifty Shopper who represents more than 8,5 million of households, i.e. 17% of the monitored population.

This type of shopping behaviour is characterized by clear focus on price that is apparent mainly in usage of various special offers and action prices. The representation of the Thrifty Shopper differs throughout the monitored CEE region, though. It’s the most common shopper type in Romania and Bulgaria where it reaches 29% respectively 23%, whereas this type is much scarcely represented in other monitored CEE countries such as Croatia with only 8% share, in Hungary (9%) or in the Czech Republic (11%).

The Shopper Typology study suggests the inner regional segmentation of the monitored CEE region. It concludes that there are significant similarities in the shopper type distribution of the four central European countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) and the selected former Yugoslavian countries (Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro). E.g., Czech Republic and Croatia share the same least common shopper type, the Communicative Housewife, as well as the most frequent type, the Generous Shopper.

Both countries have alike proportion (60%-70%) of consumers using their car for food shopping too. The study results draw link between the eastern Balkan countries (Bulgaria and Romania) and the selected big cities of the former Soviet Union countries (Moscow, St Petersburg, Kiev) that features a large proportion of immobile shopper types (65%-75%) together with a significant segment of consumers undemanding on the environment of their shopping place (55%-65%).

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