Portuguese “more worried about economy than they are about virus”

Concern in Portugal about the virus appears to be dropping, but people are increasingly worried about the impact it is having – and may continue to have – on the economy.

A study commissioned by the association of Portuguese designer products has shown that everyday citizens are looking ahead and not at all comfortable with the ‘results’.

There are even fears for the collapse of the social security system – not to mention major worries about job losses that could be coming down the line.

The study, compiled by consumer panel Kantar, suggests people’s patterns of consumption have altered.

For example, yes, there are people going into shops, but they are staying in the shops for less time, buying less in terms of quantity, and buying less during the weekends.

Another ‘change’ in people’s behaviour has been where they chose to shop: people are (finally!) opting for ‘local products’ – and due to the anathema now for places with large numbers of people, they are preferring to go to shops ‘closest to home’, thus avoiding the need for public transport/ driving to reach places that might be busier.

The study found that nationals do indeed intend to take their holidays within Portugal this year, but they’re planning to reduce their spending ‘when it comes to bars and restaurants as well as other leisure activities’.

This is most certainly not good news for the hospitality and tourism sectors, which already rank the Portuguese as a slice of the market that traditionally spends less on holiday than other nationalities.

Said Centromarca’s director-general Pedro Pimentel, “a substantial part of the population still shows some reluctance to return to activities of consumption outside the home. We accept that it is important to maintain prudent, responsible behaviour, but it’s important to alleviate excessive fears that might impede the very necessary economic recovery of the country”.

This is clearly what the government is trying to do while there appears no option but to extend the current Situation of Calamity for another 14-day period, particularly bearing in mind developments in Lisbon (click here).

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com