Sales of non-food products have exceeded the pre-coronavirus crisis levels and retailers with online stores are the big winner

The retail segment was arguably one of the most affected among real estate markets in the initial phase of the pandemic, considering the lockdown during the state of emergency, but now Romania has been recording the third fastest recovery of non-food consumption in the European Union, after Lithuania and Denmark. However, the overall impact and evolution remain uneven: the rapid recovery has been driven mainly by online commerce and trade patterns in secondary or tertiary cities.

April 2021 saw an increase of 11.5% in non-food goods sales in Romania, relative to the peak recorded before the pandemic, based on adjusted data, respectively in January 2020, while in the European Union sales were on average 2% below the maximum level recorded at the beginning of last year. Lithuania and Denmark, both with increases of about 16% above the maximum level reached before the pandemic, are the only member states with better results than Romania 

“The market data we have shows that much of this rapid consumption growth in Romania comes from two directions: online commerce, used mainly by residents of larger cities, which is about 50% above the pre-pandemic peak, and trade patterns in smaller cities, where there was not much diversity in terms of retail schemes until recently. However, we believe that large, dominant schemes will remain successful in the long run due to the generous mix of retailers and consumers’ preference to be able to be inspired by a shopping center before making a purchase, but also to be able to see and touch the products before buying them”, explains Simina Niculiță, Partner & Head of Retail Agency at Colliers.

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