Luminor: online purchases decline sharply on year this summer in Estonia, grow in Latvia, Lithuania

  • 2020-10-05
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Compared with the same period last year, online sales grew this summer in Latvia and Lithuania but declined sharply in Estonia, Luminor customers' card payment statistics show.

While in June this year, Estonian consumers still spent 25 percent more in online shopping environments than during the same month last year, the first week of August, however, saw the volume of purchases made online decline approximately 50 percent year over year, and the trend continued for the entire month, according to Luminor. 

No such trend was observed in Lithuania or Latvia, where the volume of e-commerce continuously exceeded last year's levels.

"There is no objective reason to the decline in e-commerce in Estonia, which is why we believe that the change must have been prompted by consumers' different reaction to the changing environment," Kristjan Jasinski, head of customer experience at Luminor, said in a press release.

Jasinski said that online commerce, which has been more popular in Estonia compared with Latvia and Lithuania, grew rapidly even during the most stringent restrictions.

"Therefore, it is possible that the end of quarantine seemed like a good opportunity for Estonians to physically start visiting stores once more," he said.

Jasinski noted that even though the role of e-commerce at first appeared to be growing increasingly during the first coronavirus wave, it is too soon to call it a fundamental change in consumption habits, as the switch observed in Estonia shows. 

Consumers in all three Baltic states behaved similarly in June when the volume of sales in the household goods segment was higher by 20-25 percent compared with the same month in 2019 in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

No significant changes occurred in Estonia or Latvia over the remaining summer months; however, in Lithuania, the segment's revenue grew sharply at the end of August, exceeding that earned during the same month last year by more than 25 percent. Lithuanian pharmacies likewise saw their revenues rise as people spent nearly 40 percent more at pharmacies starting from the end of July, compared with the same period last year. 

Jasinski noted that while people began travelling slightly more in mid-July, the revenue of travel services in all three states continues to be approximately 40 percent lower compared with 2019.

Consumers in all three states also spend less on fuel, entertainment and eating out; however, their expenditure on food and clothing has grown, he added.

In conclusion, aside from travel expenses, which have become virtually non-existent, Baltic consumers' expenditures have not declined significantly.

"It appears that the various economic support measures that have been introduced have proven successful in all Baltic states as their economies have managed to withstand the coronavirus much more successfully than expected. This was reflected in both changes in consumer expenditure as well as in forecasts," Luminor's head of customer experience said, adding that the accuracy of forecasts will soon be put to the test by the fall coronavirus wave.