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Consumer authority: Spending up across almost all retail sectors

The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority says consumer confidence is improving, as retail spending is up in practically every business area.

Ravintolamyynti on yksi tärkeimpiä parempien taloudellisten aikojen mittareita
Image: Antti Kolppo / Yle

Researchers at the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority say consumer spending is up across all retail sectors as the Finnish economy improves.

Research manager Anu Raijas from the FCCA says her studies show that Finnish residents are once again using their hard-earned money on things that are seen as luxuries when times are hard, like travelling and eating out. She says an increase in bookings for so-called 'pampering vacations' in particular is a good indicator of consumer confidence returning.

Markus Salomäki, restaurant manager of the Helsinki drinking establishment Bierhuis Rotterdam barely has time to comment on the trend, as he is busy tending bar.

"Sure, there have been signs for awhile now that things are getting better. There's been a clear uptick in spending year-round, really. It feels as if people are freer with their money when it comes to restaurant services," he says.

The automotive trade is also improving. One major retailer, the Kesko Group, says that its car sales are up by 7.6 percent.

Growth in the construction sector has also revived home appliance sales. The home loan specialist Hypo recently predicted three percent growth in Finland's centennial year.

Clothing and marine sales are still hurting

Brick-and-mortar clothing shops are still feeling the pinch, however, as consumers increasingly turn to online retailers. Business in the boating industry and among jewellery, watch and clock sellers is also not improving, continuing a longer slump in these areas.

Tutkimuspäällikkö Anu Raijas Kilpailu- ja kuluttajavirasto
Image: Antti Kolppo / Yle

Raijas says the promising economic trends have clearly cheered up the nation.

"Positive stories in the media promote a good atmosphere and create confidence among consumers. Things are really looking up. Add the summer holidays, and the purse strings are sure to loosen," she says. 

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