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3.2 The Polish consumer profile

Poland is a young country in terms of its age distribution, with nearly 75% of the population below 50 years of age. Poles aged 20-50, who are the major income earners, account for more than half of the population. Being the major purchasers in the Polish consumer market, these income earners, especially professionals, managers, office staff and younger workers, working either domestically or abroad, are relatively more willing to spend.

In terms of the young population, income earners aged 20-29 and youths aged 15-19 constitute about 25% of the population. The relatively high percentage share of youngsters in the Polish population has resulted in a strong demand for related items like fashion clothing and consumer electronics.

As Poles generally have strong family values, they are willing to spend more on their children. Despite recent falling birth rates, the high proportion of children in the Polish population (children aged 14 or below account for 16% of the total population in Poland) reveals that the demand for consumer goods like toys and games is robust in the country.

Poland's population distribution, 2009

Source: GUS

Another feature of the Polish market is the relatively higher share of females in the total population (52%). While the demand for female items may be stronger in the country, it is noteworthy that buying decisions not only for daily groceries, but also most household and consumer goods, are usually made by females. Not unexpectedly, marketing and packaging of products in the market are biased towards female customers.

As regards spending patterns, the major expenditure of Poles includes food, beverages and tobacco, housing and utilities, as well as transport. Together this accounts for more than 50% of Poles’ monthly expenditure. For the remaining half of total spending, the major expenditure items include recreation and culture, accounting for 8% of the total, followed by clothing and footwear (6%), furnishings and household equipment (6%) and health (5%). Amid improvement in income of Polish consumers, spending on such items is poised to increase further in the medium term, which should portend immense potential for related consumer goods suppliers to the market.

Structure of household consumption expenditure, 2008

Source: GUS

Polish consumers are becoming more conscious about quality in addition to price. Indeed, many families have already purchased different durable items, and individuals have largely bought clothing, personal goods and other consumer items for daily use. For example, most Polish households have refrigerators, vacuum cleaners and colour TV sets. With rising living standards and continued influx of foreign products and brands, consumers are more willing and able to afford better quality items to replace the inferior products brought in the old days.

A reputable brand also enjoys a premium in the market. Indeed, Western and famous multinational brands and fashion items have been much sought after in recent years. But it should be noted that along with the increases in imports in the last decade, Polish consumers now have a wider range of choice of goods. They are better equipped with product knowledge and fashion sense, and have started to ask for value for money. Merely “imported goods” without attractive features, designs and quality are no longer marketable.

Average gross income in Poland

Source: Euromonitor

Average retail prices of selected consumer goods in Poland*

Specification

Price (in PLN)

Men’s suit, polyester staple fibres and wool – per piece

468

Men’s shirt, polyester staple fibres and cotton – per piece

89

Men’s short socks, cotton and elastil – per pair

6

Women’s costume, wool – per piece

409

Women’s tights, thin, plain – per piece

3

Trousers for aged 6-11, jeans type – per piece

63

Leather shoes with non-leather sole – per pair

Men’s – low shoes

Women’s – low shoes

Women’s – knee-boots

 

159

155

298

Fridge-freezer, capacity about 300 l – per piece

1,258

Automatic washing machine, dry-linen capacity not exceeding 5 kg – per piece

1,196

Electric vacuum cleaner – per piece

340

Electric iron – per piece

188

Transparent bulb, 60W – per piece

1

Mountain bicycle – per piece

850

LCD TV set, 32 inches – per piece

2,017

* Average in December 2009
Source: GUS

Content provided by Hong Kong Trade Development Council
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