Results of the Annual Greek Commerce Fair 2022

The Annual Report of Greek Commerce 2022 was presented today, March 4, 2023, by ESEE, highlighting the sector’s important role in the Greek economy while reflecting the effects of the energy crisis and inflation on the viability and prospects of commercial enterprises.

The Annual Report of Greek Commerce for 2022 confirms that the commerce sector, with a turnover exceeding 167 billion euros and in which more than 222,000 companies are active, is also the largest employer in the Greek economy, employing 725,000 people. Employment for 2022 records an increase of 3.5%, compared to 2021, which is mainly attributed to the rise of employees (11.1%), with the remaining categories showing a decline: “Employers” (-3.0 %), “Self-employed” (-9.6%). Also dynamic was the increase of (DKE) in retail commerce (12.3%), mainly due to inflation.

However, what is inferred from a more detailed study of the data is that any improvement in retail commerce volumes is not distributed accordingly among the businesses in the sector. As emerges from INEMY’s primary research, smaller companies, which comprise most commercial companies, may demonstrate significant resilience. Still, they try to avoid the “triple trap”: reduced sales, increased operating costs, and fragile debt.

According to data from the Annual Report, the main challenges faced by commercial enterprises are: a) financial obligations (42.8%), b) revaluation management (25%), and c) liquidity (23.6%). The energy crisis hurts the operation of commercial enterprises as for 83.6% of commercial enterprises; the turnover has been negatively affected by the price increases in energy costs. In comparison, 30% of commercial enterprises face increases of 31%-50% in the current bills.

The triple trap combined with the energy crisis may turn, in the medium term, commercial enterprises into “passive recipients” of mega-trends as only 1.8% consider the cost of “digital transformation” as a critical challenge and only 0. 3% of the cost of the “green transition.” This element documents the need to support commercial enterprises for a “fair” twin – digital and green – transformation.

The scientific presentation of E – 2022 was made by:

Valia Aranitou, Scientific Director, INEMY-ESEE, Associate Professor, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Dr. Charalambos Arachovas, Economist – Coordinator of the Department of Economic Analysis ESEE

Dr. Manolis Manioudis, Financial Analyst INEMY-ESEE

Stamatina Panteleou, Director of Economic Sectoral Studies ICAP-CRIF

The President of ESEE, Mr. Giorgos Karanikas, emphasized:

“The results of the EEEE-2022 highlight once again the central role of commerce in the Greek economy. A special position continues to be held by small businesses, which, despite the successive crises, seem to endure. They need the support of the state either through financial tools or public policies (end of pretension, etc.). The conclusions of the Report also confirm the main goals of the Management of ESEE, which, through the central action future of retail, aims to bring more and more small commercial businesses into contact with the necessary digital transformation”.

This was followed by a fascinating discussion on the findings of the Report in which Mr. Michalis Argyrou, Chairman of the Council of Economic Experts, Professor at the Department of Economics of the University of Piraeus, Francis Koutentakis, Coordinator of the State Budget Office in the Parliament, Assistant Professor at the Department of Economics of University of Crete, and Theodoros Pelagidis, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Greece, Professor at the Department of Maritime Studies at the University of Piraeus.

Mr. Argyrou argued that “commerce is a flexible and resilient industry, despite the adverse effects of continuous crises. A series of favorable data makes us optimistic about the path of the economy and the sector in 2023. However, every government should be responsible for ensuring a stable and predictable economic and business environment that will facilitate business plans, strengthen investments, and employment”.

According to Mr. Koutentakis, “commerce is recording positive performances, but significant intra-sectoral and intra-business disparities are observed. A typical example is the tiny ones, which, despite the pressures, show higher productivity than the larger ones. High inflation may favor some businesses and others not. Still, in any case, we should also look at its social dimension, especially in the large increases in food prices that affect overall consumer spending.”

Mr. Pelagidis underlined: “The Greek economy is proving to be particularly resilient, which has positively surprised us, and this is also reflected in commerce, whose turnover in 2022 increased by 20.1% compared to 2021. Inflation will remain high due to the middle class’s expansion in China, which is expected to increase demand. This development can turn out to be an opportunity for Greek businesses. The retail industry should adopt an “omnichannel” approach.”

The discussion was moderated by journalist Michalis Psylos, Director of naftemporiki. gr.

Check out the infographic.