Russians spending more abroad

Citibank’s annual Russian’s spend abroad study shows that Russians are spending more money outside the country this year than they were in 2009.

The Citibank survey, conducted between January 2007 and June this year shows that international credit card transactions have grown from 17% of total Russian credit card spending in 2009, to 18.8% this year, although still down on the 19.4% posted for 2008.

But Michael Berner, Consumer Lending Head at Citibank Russia, says Russians are back as global spenders.

“We observe a higher purchasing power of Russians abroad in 2010 as compared to 2009: Russians save less when travelling and the structure of expenditures tracks the pre-crisis numbers in 2008.”

However, the average transaction amount stands at $165 this year, down 6.25% from the average amount in 2009. The drop is attributed to more cardholders travelling abroad and making smaller purchases such as groceries, or at cafes and restaurants, with larger numbers of lower income travelers also heading abroad, reflecting increased economic confidence.

Although average transaction sizes have declined, the survey shows the structure of Russians’ spending by categories approximates pre-downturn spending. In 2010, there has been sales growth recorded for jewellery, car rentals, and medical services. Compared to 2009, Russian shoppers abroad are also spending more on clothes and shoes (up from 13.7% to 16.9%) with outlays on hotels (20.4%) and air flights (9.7%) remaining at about the same level

Different travelling destinations figure differently for Russian spenders according to the survey. For example the main expense for Russians in France and the UK is hotels (20% of total spending in the UK, and 22% in France), as well as clothes and shoes (14% in the UK, and 18% in France). At the same time, at least 33% of expenditures in France are shopping-related, and over 7% are spent at French restaurants. In Italy, clothes and shoes (42%) remain the most popular category of expenditures, while over 50% of total Russians’ expenditures in Italy are related to shopping. Expenditures on air flights (15%) traditionally score the highest in the USA.