By closely analysing aggregated, anonymised card data, the Nordea team aims to provide an accurate reflection of the impacts of the coronavirus crisis on private consumption in Finland based on its card transaction statistics. As Nordea has a roughly one third market share in Finland, card transaction data is able to provide a comprehensive picture of changes in consumption trends.
As expected, data from the week of the 6-12 April shows that the coronavirus crisis has had a significant impact on consumption in Finland. On the whole, card transaction volumes are down by 25% compared to the early part of the year on average. Contrary to the general downturn, Nordea’s Coronavirus Barometer also indicates that card transaction volumes in grocery stores have seen an increase.
Tuuli Koivu, Chief Economist Finland, says: “The plunge caused by coronavirus took place in mid-March. The travel and restaurant industries have been affected the most, with card transaction volumes as much as 70–90% lower than before the coronavirus crisis. Demand for taxis as well as culture and leisure services has also plummeted. Changes in consumer behaviour have been extremely rapid and drastic in many sectors that are vital to the Finnish economy and, most importantly, that employ a large percentage of the Finnish workforce.”
Consumers in the middle
The results of the analysis underline the fact that consumers are at the centre of the coronavirus crisis, making it different from past crises. Unlike the financial crisis, the economic crash caused by coronavirus has not focused on manufacturing and investments. Instead, the most rapid decline has been seen in the service sector and consumption.
Tuuli adds: “Consumers account for a large part of the economy. This is why readily available and reliable data on consumption trends during the pandemic are needed to assess the economic impact and to support decision-making. Nordea’s statistics provide a great additional tool for evaluating the impacts of the crisis and we’ll continue to monitor consumption in Finland with the help of this data on a weekly basis.”
As well as painting a picture of the current challenges facing the Finnish economy, the card transaction statistics will also be able to show the first signs of recovery as the crisis begins to abate.
Tuuli concludes: “Just by looking around, all of us can see the sharp economic downturn caused by the coronavirus. But it’s more interesting and, in many ways, more important to look at when and how fast the economy will start to recover.”
Tuomas Autero, Head of Business Development at Nordea Connect, says: “With the size of Nordea’s market share and cards being the most frequently used banking product, our data is very reliable.”
Valtteri Korhonen, Business Lead Finland, Consumer Cards, adds: “One of the important societal roles for Nordea, particularly in times of crisis, is to use our data and knowledge to give decision makers the analysis they need to plot the next course of action.”
About the Coronavirus Barometer
Nordea’s Coronavirus Barometer includes card transaction data from weeks 1–15 in 2020. The barometer only uses anonymous data on transaction volumes in different types of stores. Individual cards or cardholders cannot be identified from the statistics. However, if a cardholder does not wish to have their transactions included in the statistical study, it is possible to exclude them. Instructions for this are available here in Finnish and English.
For more information please contact Tuomas at Tuomas.Autero@nordea.com.
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