The latest household budget survey from Albania’s state statistics office Instat shows the pandemic caused major changes in spending patterns during 2020.
The average monthly consumption expenditures of an Albanian household were up by 1.5% in 2020 at ALL83,475 (€675), with the average household numbering 3.6 people. The increase in consumption was slightly less than the rise in consumer prices of 1.6% in 2020.
The biggest change in spending compared to 2019 was the 28.0% year-on-year hike in spending on health, with a particularly large increase in spending on vitamins as Albanians tried to improve their health to keep the coronavirus (COVID-19) at bay.
By contrast, there was a 26.4% y/y slump in spending on recreation and culture. Virtually all leisure and cultural activities were suspended during the initial spring 2020 lockdown.
However, there was a 17.1% growth in spending in the restaurants and hotels category, which Instat said was due to higher spending on both overnight stays at tourist accommodation in Albania and on fast food, takeaways and food delivery.
Spending on transport also increased, specifically on the hiring of garages and parking spaces, and taxi services, indicating Albanians sought alternatives to public transport during the pandemic.
Food and non-alcoholic beverages accounted for the largest share of Albanians’ average monthly expenditure at ALL34,713, or 41.6% of the overall household budget. Broken down by type of food, 23.7% of spending on food was on meat and meat products, 16.8% on vegetables, 13.8% on dairy products and 9.6% on fruit.
Housing accounted for a relatively small share of household spending at ALL8,357, or 10.0% of the total. Furnishing, household equipment and routine home maintenance added a further ALL5,794, with the largest share of spending going on cleaning and maintenance products.
Average monthly consumption was highest in Tirana prefecture at ALL98,737, followed by Korce and Fier, and lowest in Kukës and Dibër prefectures at ALL70,252 and ALL71,135 respectively.