Following the downturn caused by the pandemic, the strong growth that has prevailed since last spring continued in the Hungarian retail sector in March 2022. The impact of the price freezes extended until July was felt mainly in a surge in sales at petrol stations, the Ministry of Innovation and Technology said in a statement.
The latest flash report from the Central Statistical Office shows that the nearly 30 percent growth in the sales of consumer durables drove the sector's performance the most.
Non-food retail sales contributed 9.1 percentage points to the overall 16.2 percent growth. Textile, clothing and footwear stores quadrupled, while second-hand stores tripled their sales volume compared to March 2021.
The extra income of households is providing a noticeable boost, while, for the time being, the war in Ukraine is not holding back retail sales.
Partly because of the low base, and also because of the fuel price freeze, domestic petrol stations saw a 50 percent increase in their turnover in March.
Péter Cseresnyés, State Secretary for Trade Policy and Consumer Protection, pointed out:
The number of people in employment has remained steady at around 4.7 million, with real earnings growing steadily for almost ten years. Households had more money to spend at the beginning of 2022 thanks to significant wage increases, tax exemptions for young people, the reintroduction of the 13th month pension and the family tax rebate. In the first quarter, retail sales increased by more than 10 percent compared to the same period in 2021. If no new circumstances emerge that may cause a loss of momentum, consumption could return to the 5-6 percent growth rate that characterised the years before the pandemic.