THE campaign period for the May 9 local and national elections has helped to improve consumer confidence and sales of supermarkets nationwide, according to the Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association, or Pagasa.

Pagasa President Steven T. Cua said in a mobile phone interview with BusinessWorld that poll campaigns had helped increase confidence among consumers. The campaign period ended on May 7.

“Campaigns helped build consumer confidence as some participants went out for the first time since March 2020, especially at rallies of national candidates, or stepped out more often than they usually do,” Mr. Cua said.

Additional sales for supermarkets were seen during the campaign period, he said, although the increase happened only in “spurts.” He declined to provide any specific figure.

“There were additional sales during this campaign period especially for supermarkets, which operate as wholesalers; meaning either they have a separate price when you buy on a per-case basis or they stocked up enough for candidates to buy in bulk for campaigns,” Mr. Cua said.

“I’d say not so much [increase]. There were increases but in spurts only. Most of these purchases were rather unplanned as candidates are not assured of attendance at their local mini-rallies. National candidates would source direct from distributors and/or supplier/donors,” he added.

According to Mr. Cua, the top item that was sold during the campaign period was bottled water.

“Top item sold during these campaign rallies was bottled water. Most local candidates expect supermarkets to carry enough stock for them to buy at any one time. So, supermarkets with stocks for items included in loot bags during campaigns also made extra sales during this period though on a rather limited scale,” Mr. Cua said.

Meanwhile, Philippine Retailers Association Vice-Chairman Roberto S. Claudio said in an e-mail interview that the campaign period helped only a bit in the recovery of the local retail industry.

“On the election period helping in the recovery of the retail industry, not so much. It helped in giving marginal income to people involved in the campaign efforts of politicians. [But] savings from consumers during the lockdown period and ‘revenge’ spending fueled more the recovery of the retail industry,” Mr. Claudio said.

Further, Mr. Claudio said the local retail industry is on its way to pre-pandemic figures, as the campaign period coincided with the improving consumer confidence.

“The campaign period coincided with the regaining consumer confidence in consumption spending. Lower coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases and high vaccination have improved and consumers have started to go out and spend time and money on eating out, which benefit our restaurants and fast foods. Outdoor and recreation spending have also started for consumers who have been quarantined for so long,” Mr. Claudio said.

“The retail [industry] is on its way to pre-pandemic levels. We are seeing this in the March-April sales performances. We just hope that the new Omicron variants will not get out [of] hand again,” he added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave