World Cup spurs consumer spending in Russia

Although Russia has spent a lot on preparations for the world's most famous football event, its economy will receive some of this money back thanks to increased consumer spending. Such areas as retail sales, paid services and domestic travel are the main beneficiaries of the influx of foreign and domestic visitors caused by the championship.

Russia's supermarket chains, electronic stores and eateries report a surge in sales and customer traffic, as the World Cup spurs demand for beverages, food and TVs, reports Bloomberg. ''Sales during game days are four times higher than a typical weekend night and it's almost all beer,'' said Doug Steele, the owner of Papa's Bar & Grill, which is located on Moscow's Nikolskaya Street. The area became the unofficial epicentre of fan celebrations during the tournament.

According to Vladimir Osakovskiy, an economist at Bank of America, the World Cup will have a ''fairly small'' overall effect on the Russian economy, but the ''total positive impact'' may amount to 1% of monthly GDP split between the second and third quarters of 2018. The cup may increase event-related spending in Russia by $5 billion in June and July in areas ''like retail sales, paid services, including internet, mobile traffic, as well as domestic travel'', considers the expert.

Supporters of Brazil's football team at FIFA Fan Fest in Moscow. Photo: Brateevsky

X5 Retail Group claimed that customer traffic in Perekryostok supermarkets in host cities rose by 45-63% in the tournament's first two weeks. The chain registered significant increases in sales of beer, soft drinks and snacks. Other Russian retail chains observed a similar picture. Sales of TVs and smartphones rose by about 20% in May and June compared to the corresponding period of 2017, reported Russia's largest electronics chain M.Video. President of Rosinter Restaurants Holding Sergey Zaytsev said that the company's sales had added 30% on average since the beginning of the World Cup. ''Foreign visitors usually make up 10-15% of customers in our restaurants in Moscow and St Petersburg, but during game days, and especially after matches, it was 90%," said Zaytsev.

However, the event's fever may subside quickly after the end of the championship. Among the countries that staged the previous three World Cups, only South Africa registered significant growth in consumption after the tournament, remarks Bloomberg.

Russia has been widely praised for its efficient organisation of the World Cup. The event has drawn hundreds of thousands of domestic and foreign visitors. An unexpected success of the national football team in reaching the quarterfinals has served as an additional incentive for domestic supporters. As for foreign fans, many of them have remarked on the warm welcome received in the tournament's 11 host cities.

By Anna Litvina