The rising cost of living, particularly food prices, and the resulting decline in real wages have been impacting the shopping habits of Czech citizens for some time. More and more people are seeking discounts, reducing their purchases of unnecessary items, or buying cheaper goods in bulk.
According to a survey by Up Česká republika, two-thirds of those surveyed have been using coupons for a long time, with an additional fifth joining them in the last year. Loyalty programs are also popular, with 86% of Czechs taking advantage of them, including 14% who only started using them last year.
Unfortunately, this frugality is necessary for many Czechs, as the country has experienced a record decline in real wages among European Union countries. According to the German platform Statista, Czech real wages fell by 8.3% in 2020, compared to only 4.2% in Austria and an average of just under 3% across the rest of Europe. In the first quarter of this year alone, real wages in the Czech Republic declined by 6.7%.
As a result of this economic crisis, Czech citizens are taking further measures to relieve their budgets. The most significant change is the limitation of unnecessary purchases, including sweets and decorative items. Three out of ten people have also reduced or stopped using certain services such as food delivery, taxis, hairdressers, and massages.
Many employees feel they are working only to pay bills and cannot afford activities they previously enjoyed. This negatively affects their mood, motivation, fatigue, and mental and physical health.
Czechs save money by buying items on sale that they don’t necessarily need and stocking up on them. According to a survey, three-quarters of people have been doing this, with one-fifth starting in the last year. Nearly two-thirds of Czechs focus on discounted goods with expiration dates approaching to save money.
Three-fifths of Czechs reduce their purchases of alcohol and cigarettes to save money. However, fewer than half buy second-hand items to save money, and even fewer shop at cheaper, usually Asian e-stores. Over a third of people shop in more inferior border regions, but more than 30% of respondents admit this option is unrealistic due to the considerable distance from the border.
The decline in real wages and rising living costs have forced Czechs to rethink their shopping habits. As the situation continues, it will be interesting to see how these habits evolve and whether more sustainable and financially responsible practices will emerge.