European consumers are proving more reluctant to spend money this summer, and it could hurt the economic recovery following the shock from Covid-19, experts told CNBC, APA reports citing CNBC.
The behavior marks a sharp contrast to last year, when there was a feeling of seizing the moment after the first Covid lockdowns in the region were lifted. Now, consumers are afraid they will be living with Covid-19 for longer than they had expected and are adjusting their attitudes accordingly.
“Because [the pandemic] has been going on for 18 months or so, we have got used to working from home and [are] more cautious about spending,” Marchel Alexandrovich, European economist at investment bank Jefferies, told CNBC on Monday.
Consumers are particularly skeptical about attending crowded events, according to Paul O’Connor, head of the U.K.-based multi-asset team at Janus Henderson.
Speaking to CNBC on Monday, O’Connor said there had been a “steady improvement” in some economic indicators, such as the number of people using public transport, going shopping and even attending the gym. “But there are some areas where we see continued consumer caution,” he added.
A survey published in July by Ipsos Moris showed that 40% of U.K. consumers were not yet comfortable taking vacations abroad. Over 40% of respondents also said they were not comfortable going to large public gatherings such as sports or music events.
In addition, “the return to work has been very hesitant,” O’Connor said, despite the relaxation of Covid restrictions in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe. This is impacting “the economy around the office,” such as coffee shops, he added, as people opt for a hybrid wo