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Covid increases household expenses in Tarragona by 1,000 euros

Martina bought a Wii for Wallapop in the middle of the Great Lockdown and escaped the pandemic horror by playing Animal Crossing. Her partner, Sergio, took to subscribing to Prime Video in search of series as if there were no tomorrow, to kill so many idle hours. Two years later, those new customs have stuck.

With the masks in decline indoors, a study by the Grupo Mutua Propietarios calculates the extra cost of Covid-19 only taking into account the home. In Tarragona, each family has assumed an additional expense of 972 euros for the needs that arise in the house, both in terms of protection and adaptation.

The report concludes that one in three households in the province has come out poorer -and that without taking into account the current galloping inflation-, only considering the expenses derived from teleworking (37%), the decrease in income (36%) , the rise in rent (14%), the affectation of the ERTE (21%), the losses in investments (12%) or the dismissal of a member of the family (5%).

We are more at home and we also invest and spend more in it because of the virus. In a year and a half, according to the report, each household in Tarragona has left an average of 263 euros in reforms and 235 in material against the coronavirus. These are the two main items in an increase that also includes added expenses such as household appliances, computer equipment, sports equipment –treadmills or exercise bikes have also been classics– or the rise in electricity, not only due to higher rates but for staying longer at home.

“We bought a computer”

Although there are consumptions that would have been carried out in the same way, others have had their trigger in the habits initiated or enhanced in the pandemic. Thus, just over 15 euros go to hiring digital platforms, 73 in sports equipment and 64 in computing. “At home there are two of us and we have both teleworked for many stages, so we have had to buy a new computer that cost us 800 euros,” explains a couple from Tarragona.

They are not the exception. 31% of people from Tarragona have invested in computers to provide their space with tools to be able to work remotely or interact virtually. “A longer stay in our homes, together with new technologies, has accelerated the adoption of some habits that, for their comfort or to simplify our lives, we have incorporated into our day to day,” explains Laura López Demarbre, director of strategy for the Owners Mutual Group.

The pandemic –or at least its crudest phases and already overcome– leaves homes much more hyperconnected, and the routine that derives from it is here to stay. Six out of ten people from Tarragona –specifically, 63%– maintain that they will continue to use digital platforms to consume television on demand. 26% of those surveyed have contracted this pay television.
95,000 households pay for TV

Data from the National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC) at the provincial level show how technology has penetrated homes. In Tarragona there are more than 95,000 houses with access to pay television, approximately 12% of the dwellings. These are data from 2020, which already include the initial impact of Covid-19. In 2013, the figure fell by almost half and was about 56,000 families subscribed to that system.

The same thing happens with mobile technology, which can no longer be understood without the concept of the ‘smartphone’ and the connection to the network. Tarragona currently has 711,047 postpaid mobile lines, almost as many as citizens. It is an increase of 4% in the first year of the pandemic, although the trend of the increase began a long time ago.

In 2012, ten years ago, there were 488,000 mobiles in Tarragona, according to data from the CNMC.
The annual balance of the regulator highlights that at a general level, the data traffic managed through mobile networks grew in the year of the outbreak of the Covid pandemic a spectacular 65% compared to the previous year and reached 3.1 million Terabytes . And going back to Tarragona’s optics: 87.3% of citizens have a mobile, although if prepaid lines are added, there are already more telephones than people in the province. In 2007, only 53% had their own cell phone.

Such penetration of ICT in the domestic sphere explains another boom in the Covid key: that of food delivery. 82% of Tarragona will continue to ask for food in this way, an example of another practice that will continue.

But not all of those changes are going to last. In fact, in times of a return to normality, with goodbye to the mask as the most obvious symbol, some habits have been lost. 38% of people from Tarragona have stopped working from home, 48% have stopped playing sports at home and 63% have stopped interacting online.

the pleasure of being at home

For all those uses linked to the house, the money dedicated to households increases, a waste that is not always seen in the same way. According to the survey, habits such as food delivery, pay TV or internet are seen as expenses, but others such as cooking or sports at home are perceived as savings, because the alternative of going out from home involves a higher outlay.

«A longer stay at home has made us develop habits that we have incorporated»
Laura Lopez. Dir. Strat. Mutual Owners

The synthesis of all this is that, despite the hardness of the mobility restrictions, we have found the pleasure of being more at home. 63% of citizens believe that the pandemic has made them value their home more and, therefore, they will continue to invest in its conservation. «There were some consumption habits that could not be addressed, especially from the social point of view.

There has been a substitution effect, with electronic commerce. There has been a curb on vacation spending, for example, which has been diverted to the home, “explains Juan Gallardo, an economist at the Cepta study office. Has all this translated into savings? Yes, but only in part, because experts suggest that Covid causes an imbalance that will increase the gap between social groups. The saving reflected in the data from the Bank of Spain is concentrated only in the highest incomes.

“In extreme situations like the one we have experienced, the most vulnerable groups are once again the scapegoats,” adds the Tarragona economist Rafael Muñoz. The same study by Mutua Propietarios also alludes to this gap, which emphasizes that although there are families who have disbursed more at home without haste and have even saved, for others the adaptation to the coronavirus has meant an effort that has disrupted plans until impoverish the domestic economy.

  • coronavirus
  • Tarragona
  • economy
  • spent
  • home
  • bills
  • pandemic

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