Sberbank summed up the results of the coronavirus year for Russians

201225 sber 01


Russians' spending was forced to cut, the real size of the wage bill remained at the level of the previous year, online sales are helping to restore demand, and the "gray sector" of the economy grew by at least 6%

Sberbank's Sberindex laboratory has prepared a study entitled "Results of 2020" (RBC has it), conducted in the context of the COVID-19 epidemic. It also contains forecast data for December.


Sberindex analysts believe that by the end of the year 16.6 million Russians, or 11.3% of the population, will be ill with COVID-19 in the country.

These calculations are based on an epidemiological simulator using the SEIR mathematical model. This model takes into account the observed dynamics of the spread of the epidemic, population density, its geographic mobility, transport intensity, and a number of epidemic parameters - the incubation period, the number of reproduction, mortality, and the proportion of asymptomatic patients in the population.

“Simulation data show that the real level of infection is 5-6 times higher than the official statistics due to cases of mild and asymptomatic disease. In the absence of mandatory continuous testing, such cases remain undetected, which overestimates the mortality rate and the idea of ​​the severity of the disease in most cases, ”analysts write. They note that the lack of complete data on the number of patients makes the mortality rates of coronavirus higher than they actually are. In the world, the average mortality rate of coronavirus is estimated at 2.2%, in Russia the indicator, taking into account official data, is the same.


“Taking into account the asymptomatic carriers, about 165 thousand people are now infected with the virus in the country, that is, almost 6 times more than the official data. According to this model, the number of ill people in Russia as of December 31 will be 16.6 million, which corresponds to 11.3% of the country's population or about 15% of urban residents, ”the authors of the study believe.

Consumer demand

According to Sberindeks calculations, over the year, Russians' expenses decreased by 5.8%. A change in the consumer behavior of citizens led to this. This estimate also includes data on spending in the informal sector of the economy. “Fear of getting infected in public places, restrictions on international flights, and then internal restrictions have led to a significant change in consumer behavior and lower household spending,” the study authors point out.

The first wave of the epidemic influenced the dynamics of consumer demand to the greatest extent: then they were strongly influenced by administrative restrictions, such as the closure of catering and parts of stores.

In the first week of April 2020, there was a maximum drop in demand - almost 24%. The contribution of industry restrictions to the overall drop in demand in March-June was about 25%.

In the future, the level of expenses began to recover, but they partially flowed into online. Online sales provided about 10% of the demand recovery. Another 40% are attributed to adaptation factors - analysts attribute to them, for example, the actual circumvention of the introduced restrictions.

Despite this, sales of goods in Russia by the end of 2020 will still slightly increase (by 1.5% yoy). The recovery was driven by food sales (plus 5.8%). The reason for this was that, against the background of the closing of cafes and restaurants, part of the demand naturally migrated to grocery stores.


Non-food retail, despite all the restrictions, will remain at the 2019 level. Analysts also attribute this to the effect of the pandemic. In conditions of self-isolation, remote work and education, Russians began to spend more on electronics and household appliances, and also began to invest more in repairs. As with spending statistics, online sales have been a significant factor in the retail recovery. The share of Internet transactions in non-cash payments has almost doubled, to 20%. Thus, about 10% of all consumer spending in general occurs online in Russia.

The worst situation is in the service sector - where the drop in consumer spending was almost a quarter (minus 23.5% compared to 2019). In the tourism industry, the decline exceeds 50%, in catering - more than a third of revenue (minus 36.6%), in the category "Beauty salons and SPA" - minus 35.5% year-on-year.

Salaries and the gray sector of the economy

The volume of the wage fund (payroll), that is, the total amount of money that Russians receive as labor income, in 2020 in nominal terms will increase by 4.5% compared to 2019 - to 43.2 trillion rubles. However, analysts say, if inflation is taken into account, real labor income will remain at the level of last year. The largest payroll contraction fell in hotels and catering, the service sector, including culture and sports. Predictably, the public sector was the most protected, and revenues in the health sector showed the maximum growth due to higher "coronavirus" payments and increased employment.


Separately, analysts note the growth of the gray zone of the economy. According to their estimates, it grew by 6%. They draw such a conclusion based on statistics on the flow of funds from the banking sector to cash. According to the Bank of Russia data, during the first three quarters of 2020, the volume of cash in circulation increased by more than RUB 2.2 trillion. At the same time, it is not possible to explain this by the increase in the share of cash in Russian spending. On the contrary, the share of non-cash transactions of citizens has increased. “During the pandemic, we observed a significant discrepancy in the share of non-cash transactions according to the data of cards and POS terminals, in the second case, the share of non-cash transactions increased significantly higher. This may indicate that part of the turnover has gone into the “gray” zone and is not reflected in the official reporting ... If our logic is correct, then about 6% of companies' revenues in April-September migrated to the “gray” zone, ”the authors of the study state.

Previously, Yandex described 2020 in user requests. For example, in January, Russians were most interested in the coronavirus epidemic, which then began to spread from China around the world, the assassination in Iran of the head of an elite unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, General Qasem Soleimani, and wildfires in Australia. July was marked by a case against the former governor of the Khabarovsk Territory Sergei Furgal, rumors about the denomination of the ruble, aggravation of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and the death of rapper Andy Cartwright. In December, the information picture has changed little: the pandemic is still of the greatest interest to Russians, people are also looking for information about the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and the US presidential elections, as well as about the case of the actor Mikhail Efremov and the protests in Belarus and Khabarovsk.

Evgeniya Chernyshova, Georgy Tadtaev

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