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A nationally representative sample of around 350 Georgians, interviewed in early March 2020, reveals that the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) has declined by a significant 13.6 index points (from -19.5 in February 2020 to -33.1 in March 2020), compared to February 2020. This is the weakest and lowest figure since March 2017. The steep decline in March reflected rising worries about the coronavirus during the survey period and concerns about the damage the virus would cause. Additionally, it is quite possible that social media posts about the virus could also spread panic and negatively impact consumer behavior caused by the changes in how they worked, shopped, ate, traveled etc.

Returning to the consumer confidence figures, it is noteworthy that both sub-indices, the Present Situation Index and the Expectations Index, contributed to the decline. More specifically, the Expectations Index played a larger role in the decline. It is also important to highlight that both sub-indices in March 2020 hit their lowest levels in the recent two years. In terms of numbers, the Present Situation Index declined by 11.3 index points (from -22 in February 2020 to -33.3 in March 2020), and Expectations Index dropped by an even more significant 16 index points (from -17 in February 2020 to -33 in March 2020).

A nationally representative sample of around 350 Georgians, interviewed in early February 2020, shows that the Consumer Confidence Index improved by 0.9 index points, from -20.4 in January to -19.5 in February, which could be because consumers usually pull back in January after spending fairly more during the Christmas celebrating season. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that it is not a usual practice to observe a positive variation in February in the consumer confidence figures in the previous years. The two sub-indices, capturing consumer expectations and present situation assessment, also demonstrated improvement. Present Situation Index increased by 1.6 index points, from -23.6 in January to -22 in February. Its complement, Expectations Index, added slightly, by 0.2 index point, rising from -17.2 in January to -17 in February. So, Georgians seem to be a bit more optimistic in February due to the Present Situation Index increase. It should also be noted that consumer confidence interviews were conducted in early February before coronavirus spread beyond China to other countries such as South Korea, Iran and Italy, notably before it reached to South Caucasus and darkened the outlook. Therefore, consumer confidence figures for February miss much of any concern about the coronavirus.

A nationally representative sample of around 350 Georgians, interviewed in early January 2020, reveals that the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) remained nearly the same, deteriorating by 0.4 index points (from -20 in December to -20.4 in January). Yet, as we observed in December 2019, Georgian Consumer Confidence improved by 1.8 index points. It is worthwhile to observe whether we have the same pattern of Consumer Confidence alterations in December and January every year. Interestingly, since 2012, when we started measuring consumer confidence in Georgia, Georgian consumers seem to enjoy Christmas and New Year Shopping and preparation in December (Consumer Confidence improves in December) and afterwards having a harsh period with less money left after the New Year celebration in January (Consumer Confidence declines in January). This pattern is present every year since 2015. Different pattern of Consumer Confidence fluctuations – consecutive decline in December and January – in previous years is correlated with parliamentary elections, being held in the fall season of 2012 and 2016 and presidential election, again being held in the fall of 2013.

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