Ka-ching! Russia’s consumerism boom

According to Russia's largest opinion research centre, two thirds of the country's population are not saving any money for the future. Meanwhile, consumerism in the country is growing.

Russian spending habits have sky-rocketed over the past eight years. Consumerism has become the new religion and its temples are everywhere.

But the ‘see it, want it, buy it’ culture comes at a cost – people have stopped planning for their future.

To save or not to save?

Two thirds of Russians feel they've acquired a new-found stability and feel safe enough not to save money.

According to one of Russia's biggest social research centres, only a quarter of Russians are planning for the future by saving money.

“Only 26 percent of Russians have savings, while 68 percent say they don't have any savings at all. This means that all of these households don't have any back-up in case of financial difficulties,” said Olga Kuzina, sociologist from research company VCIOM.

Natalya Kolesnikova, an arts expert and mother of two, says saving money for the future is impossible and she can't imagine saving enough to enjoy life when she is a pensioner. According to Natalya, the main reasons are inflation, people not trusting banks and an unstable currency.

“There is no way to save money. We have so many immediate needs to fulfill. A vacation, renovating the apartment, buying household appliances, medical treatment, going to the swimming pool,” Natalya explains.

Buy now, pay later

Economists say people are not being encouraged to save, while at the same time they are assailed by images in the media exhorting them to borrow and spend.

“The main reason for these events is the so-called boom in the banking sector. Bank loans are quite cheap for residents, especially to households,” said Evgeny Nadorshin, an economist at Trust Investment Bank.

Life is very different from Soviet times, when even if you had money you couldn't spend it. Now people want to make the most of it and enjoy what money can bring.

Higher incomes, solid economic growth and a stable political environment – after the years of shortages – the natural result is a boom in consumerism.