Consumer Lifestyles and trends in SerbiaSerbian Population Continues to AgeDuring the review period, the population of Serbia aged significantly, reflected by the median age which increasedfrom 34.7 years in 1995 to 37 years in 2008. In 1995, 17.5% of the Serbian population was over the age of 60; by2008 that percentage had risen to 19.2%.In contrast, in 1995 the percentage of Serbs under 20 years-old was 29.4%; in 2008 that had declined to 25%. Thesechanges were primarily the result of declining birth rates and people living longer due to greater availability of andaccess to better health and medical services.In 1995, the fertility rate (children born per female) was 1.83. That dropped quickly to 1.73 in 2000 but it has beenrising slowly since and reached 1.8 in 2008. Regardless, this is a low rate compared to other countries.OutlookThe Serbian population is expected to continue to age over the forecast period. In 2015, it is projected that Serbsover the age of 60 will account for 21.3% of the total population. In 2015, the median age is projected to rise to38.16 years and it is expected to continue to rise, to 39.19 in 2020.ImpactThe increased number of older people in the Serbian population is expected to drive demand for a wide range ofproducts, including health goods and medical services. At the same time, those consumers that can afford it willdrive increased demand for leisure and recreation products and services, such as package holidays.Poverty in Serbia IncreasingFor the first time in a decade, Serbia is facing a growing number of poor people, including an increasing number ofpoor families with children. The employment rate has dropped even in the informal economy, an important sourceof income for the poorest families in Serbia. Families with children represent 80% of welfare beneficiaries in Serbia. Spending by those below the absolute poverty line in Serbia is devoted almost exclusively to food and other criticalliving expenses. Using the relative poverty line (calculated as 60% median of personal consumption per consumptionunit) the indication is that 13.2% of the Serbian population was poor in 2008.
OutlookIt is expected that the effects of the global recession will linger in Serbia over the forecast period, and the resultingunemployment and declining disposable incomes will push more Serbs into poverty.ImpactWith increased poverty and declining disposable incomes, food discounters have become important retailers inSerbia. Because of the dire financial climate, it’s expected that discount retailers will emerge in several consumersectors over the forecast period.Increasing Self-awareness Drives Demand for Health ProductsSerbia is emerging from a stressful period of wars and bombings which influenced the quality of Serbian life to agreat extent. Now that the stress has subsided, there is an increased consumer demand for products that promisehigher levels of health benefits. In recent years, expenditure on medical and health services grew dramatically,leading to an increase in life expectancy and an overall increase in the quality of life.OutlookGovernment expenditure on medical and health services will continue to grow over the forecast period. Governmentprograms seeking to address the problems of smoking and child obesity, as well as programs promoting sport andother activities that contribute to healthy living, is expected to help raise awareness of the benefits of health living.ImpactIncreased awareness among Serbs of health and wellness issues is expected to drive demand for a wide range ofhealth goods and medical services over the forecast period, including OTC drugs, vitamins and dietary supplementsand other health-related products. As well, becoming fitter often spurs greater interest amongst consumers inpersonal grooming products and cosmetics and toiletries, and it’s expected that sales of these and similar personalcare products will grow over the forecast period in line with consumers’ concerns about health. It is also anticipatedthat demand for healthier foods and beverages and organic products will increase.Visa Liberalization Spurs Interest in Travel AbroadIn December 2009, Serbian citizens were told they could now to travel to EU countries without obtaining visas.Serbian tourists are no longer forced to stand in long lines in front of foreign embassies waiting to undergo drawnout visa processes and procedures in order to visit family and friends in EU countries..