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Journal section "Life quality and human potential of territories"

Population’s Consumer Behavior: “Crisis” Dynamics

Belekhova G.V.

4 (84), 2016

Belekhova G.V. Population’s Consumer Behavior: “Crisis” Dynamics. Problems of Territory's Development, 2016, no. 4 (84), pp. 138-153

Abstract   |   Authors   |   References
The article analyzes the changes in population’s consumer behavior in the context of crisis processes of country’s socio-economic development. The issues of consumer behavior were not for a long time considered a priority – economists and sociologists were mostly interested in production and work behavior. By the end of the 20th century it was recognized by researchers that population’s consumer activity is an important element in socio-economic life, which serves as a basis of social structure and stratification and reflects population’s adaptive capacity. Taking into account the “structural recession” of Russian economy, affecting not only the activity of organizations and business, but also leading to adverse changes in the population’s standard of living and quality of life, it is important to track the transformations in population’s consumer activities, which before other components of economic behavior display the aspects of people’s adaptation to the new reality. The article is prepared on materials of expert estimates and forecasts from leading research organizations and consulting companies. Data of sociological surveys, the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), the Centre for Macroeconomic Analysis and Short-Term Forecast (CMASF), the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE), the Institute of Socio-Political Research (ISPR RAS) and the Institute of Socio-Economic Development of (ISEDT RAS) have been used. The study reviews current GDP changes, retail turnover, population’s income and consumption and indicated problematic trends in Russian consumer practices. The study, along with general scientific methods (logical analysis and synthesis), applies statistical tools of sociological and statistical data processing. It is shown that low- and average-income population groups have to revise their consuming habits, as their customer demand is oriented mostly on the payment of housing services and utilities and on buying food products and goods of prime necessity, which are characterized by higher price rise. It has been revealed that in 2015 the practice of “belt-tightening” has strengthened – the number of Russian consumers who switched to less expensive goods and carefully monitor special offers has increased; the proportion of families who hardly have enough money, at best, for food has grown. The study concludes that unstable income, uneven income distribution and current adverse changes in the quantity and quality of consumption may in the long term cause a growing social discontent and tension, depress population’s confidence in the future and “patience supply”, which will affect the level of support and approval of current government and their policy in modernizing of the spheres of public life

Keywords

inflation, real income, gdp, consumer expenditure, retail turnover

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