Beer and eggs: What the Swiss bought during the COVID pandemic

Beer and eggs: What the Swiss bought during the COVID pandemic

Switzerland saw dramatic changes in the way families spent their money during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new data released by the Federal Statistical Office.

Swiss families' spending declines on dining and entertainment

Figures show that family expenditure on dining in restaurants, visiting hotels and traditional entertainment fell dramatically during 2020, despite reopenings throughout the year. Household spending on indoor dining at cafes, bars, and restaurants fell by a third in the first six months of 2020, to 67 Swiss francs a month for the average family.  

Despite the reopening of restaurants in the summer of 2020, total spending still declined. Spending on food (dine-in and takeaway) fell from 539 Swiss francs a month to just 222 per month per family by the end of the year. Restaurants lost millions of Swiss francs in business in the first, second and fourth quarters of 2020, and are still feeling the effects today.

Culture and entertainment were also hit hard by the increase in restrictions. Average household spending on recreation, entertainment and culture dropped by 28 percent to 323 Swiss francs a month. 

Analysts note that this decline may become permanent as more people in Switzerland are choosing to spend their time in secluded nature spots like lakes instead of indoor venues. Sports and leisure was the final loser during the pandemic, losing around 33 percent of income from 91 to 61 Swiss francs a month per family.

Beer consumption in Switzerland rises during COVID pandemic

The only products to see a rise in demand during the COVID pandemic were beer and food. Sales of beer increased by 50 percent in the first six months of 2020. This led to each family in Switzerland, in theory, spending 17 Swiss francs per month on just beer. 

Due to the closing of restaurants for a majority of the year, consumption of food, especially eggs, dairy and vegetables also increased. These increases declined in the last two quarters of 2020, but it is expected that a similar trend will be seen once the figures for 2021 are published, due to the restrictions in place between January and April. 

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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