While high inflation and lagging salaries continued to hurt the purchasing power of the majority of households in Venezuela, insufficient cash added another layer of stress to the already hectic life of consumers and businesses in Venezuela. This was due to the imbalance between the total level of liquidity in the economy – which quadrupled every two years since 2008 – and the total amount of bills and coins available.
According to trade representatives, approximately 60% of the retailing stores present in 2012 were closed in 2017. Some of the most affected categories were discounters – largely dominated by the government – traditional toys and games stores, pet shops and superstores, sports goods stores and stationers/office supply stores.
In 2017, MercadoLibre SRL gained retail value share by becoming the portal for several international brands that were absent from Venezuelan streets and shopping centres. Expensive items from players such as Samsung and Vichy were available through this e-marketplace.
In 2017, lagging salaries continued to limit purchasing power, which affected consumers’ behaviour in Venezuela. As of October 2017, an average household required VEF186,470 a day to purchase the basic basket of goods, while the total minimum monthly salary stood at VEF136,544, according to estimates made by the Center for Social Analysis and Documentation (CENDAS in Spanish).
After the government reasserted its absolute control of the political landscape by crushing the protests that took place across the country between April and July 2017, there is no reason to expect any change in economic policy to occur. Despite the inevitability of a foreign payments crisis, no announcements were made and the government continued to increase the presence of military officers in key public positions.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Retailing market research database.