This year’s Christmas shopping figures show no signs of celebration in savings. – Norwegians are eating up savings to maintain consumption, says Ine Oftedahl at DNB.
Norwegians have so far spent NOK 72 billion in the run-up to Christmas, according to DNB’s preliminary Christmas shopping figures. Total merchandise trade is down 9 percent from last year, but up from 2019 and 2020.
– Since Christmas sales from 2019 are higher than normal, there are currently no signs of a Christmas celebration in this year’s budget, says Ine Oftedahl, director of data transformation for E24 at DNB.
– To put it bluntly, our statistics show that most Norwegians do not allow their Christmas shopping to be affected in the slightest by the tough economic climate, says Oftedahl.
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At the same time, he points out that there is a definite decline from last year, which may make some feel that Christmas is a little tighter.
– We buy less or less Christmas presents and we see that the little ones have taken steps to reduce their consumption during the Christmas season as well.
Oftedahl says that during the pandemic, Norwegians spent less on services and more on goods, and now that we spend more on services, people seem to have forgotten that consumption of goods should be tightened accordingly.
The younger drew the card lower
When the Oslo City Shopping Center opened its doors on Christmas Eve it was not like the Christmas rush. Camila Haj (25) was one of the last prize winners of the day. She says she expects to spend as much on Christmas presents this year as last year.
– Most people know very well that you are a little more depressed in December than in other months, myself included, she says.
– But even though absolutely everything has become more expensive in everyday life, luckily it hasn’t had a big impact on me. In recent years, I have only bought gifts for those closest to me. “Besides, I finished my studies and started working full-time,” says Hogg.
According to DNB’s statistics, compared to last year, it was Hovjin’s peers between the ages of 18 and 24 who reduced their card usage the most.
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According to the bank’s figures, people are saving more on food and drinks, where there is a 12 percent decrease compared to 2021.
In terms of merchandise trade, TNP has declined in most categories compared to last year. The biggest decline in card usage was among watchmakers and jewelers, for electronics, home and sports. According to the bank, the explanation is that what we spent so much of during the pandemic is now in decline.
– Eats up saved funds
After zero interest rates during the pandemic and with rising inflation, Norges Bank raised the key interest rate a full six times in 2022 – from 0.5 to 2.75 percent. This is the highest interest rate in Norway since 2008, and people’s mortgages are becoming more expensive than they have been in recent years.
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– Many families now have tight finances. Central Bank Governor Ida Woldenbach explained the year-end interest rate hike in November by saying that higher interest rates lead to more borrowing by borrowers, and higher prices weaken purchasing power.
Oftedahl believes the card usage figures show that Norwegians need time to adjust to a new everyday life with slimmer wallets.
– With a decline in real wages and card usage at an all-time high in 2019, Norwegians are now eating up savings to maintain consumption, he says.
But this will not be a sustainable solution, the director believes:
– This means that at one point or another, a very severe austerity must take place for the vast majority. Christmas may not be in the budget, but the winter and spring months certainly should be.
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