The regions of the Center-North are the most penalized by the post-Covid consumption crisis as explained by the report of the Confcommercio Research Office with the regional analysis, the forecasts for 2021 and the June economic survey of GDP. With an overall decline in consumption of 11.7%, equal to over 126 billion euros, 2020 recorded the worst data since the second post-war period; a figure which is weighed down by the 60.4% reduction in spending by foreign tourists, with a loss of around 27 billion, 23 of which mainly concentrated in the regions of the Center-North (Lazio and Tuscany in the lead); as for per capita expenditure, the collapse in demand led, on average, to a reduction of over 2,000 euros compared to 2019, bringing consumption back to 1995 levels; but the loss of consumption has had different trends in the territory: the North and the Center are the most penalized areas (Veneto and Valle d’Aosta the regions with the greatest losses in consumption equal to over 15%), while the South recorded slightly less negative dynamics.
The resumption of May and June
In these last two months of 2021,
however, the reopening of activities and the elimination of many restrictions on mobility led to an increase in consumption (+ 14.2% in May) consolidating the recovery of GDP (+2.9 in June); it could be the start of a less difficult phase even if the gap with respect to pre-Covid levels is still very wide and the forecasts for 2021, albeit with consumption recovering by + 3.8%, remain very cautious, especially for unknowns on the restart of international tourism; with the consequence that, in absolute value, per capita expenditure, on average, will not be able to recover even a third of what was lost during the pandemic. Overall, if we look at the impact that the collapse of economic activity had in 2020 on the per capita consumption side, it can be seen that expenditure per resident, expressed at 2020 prices, has in fact returned to the 1995 level. in the South, the regression appears even more relevant with a lower consumption value than at the beginning of the historical series. Again, regional differences in per capita expenditure are significant. They range from over 24 thousand euros in the Aosta Valley to just over 11,700 in Campania. The region’s negative record lies, in part, in being the only southern territory not to have experienced significant losses of resident population between 1995 and 2020.
Forecasts for 2021
For 2021, one is expected growth in domestic consumption
3.8%, with the caveat that the risks of an overestimation are now lower than the risks of an underestimation of the actual growth of expenditure on the territory. The scenario outlined here for regional consumption is, therefore, rather cautious. Also because there are still profound unknowns about the times in which international tourism will be able to resume significantly, given the world situation, and this will affect the short-term recovery potential of many territories. Furthermore, as confirmed by Istat, the consequences of both national and international restrictions on mobility and economic activity weigh on the loss of added value of services. The rebound of the current year will make it possible to recover only a small fraction of what was lost in 2020. The recovery of the South will be more difficult, an area in which demand for consumption is estimated to grow by 3.2%. The usual problem of the South, less resilient than the rest of the country, comes up again, a phenomenon already seen in the past. The recovery in the Center should be more intense, with Lazio the most dynamic region of all. «One of the biggest challenges we face – said the Minister of Economic Development, Giancarlo Giorgetti, in his speech at Confcommercio – is that of active labor policies. The recovery we face will be a recovery that will inevitably affect sectors and sectors in a different way, but the challenge is to reintegrate workers with fast training and reskilling ».