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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russians Flush With Spare Cash

MTOf the Russians polled, 70 percent would spend spare cash on clothing.
Russians have plenty of spare cash left after paying their bills and are the first in line to spend it on clothing and new gadgets, a recent global survey spanning 42 countries found.

Only 5 percent of Russian respondents said they had no extra cash after covering essential expenses, compared with an average of 10 percent worldwide, according to a survey released last week by ACNielsen that polled 23,500 online users across the world.

With plenty of extra cash in their pockets, 70 percent of Russians said they would spend it on clothing and 51 percent on new technology. Only 35 percent of respondents worldwide said they were ready to spend their disposable income on clothing and 30 percent on gadgets.

The United States and Portugal top the list for most "cash-strapped" consumers, with 22 percent of polled individuals in both countries saying they did not have spare cash, according to ACNielsen's biannual survey.

Mortgages and other types of consumer borrowing, which account for a huge chunk of spending by Western consumers, are growing in Russia, but they are still less widespread than in developed economies, leaving Russians with more cash in hand.

Average utilities payments are also lower in Russia than in Western Europe or the United States, said Viktoria Grankina, a consumer goods analyst at Troika Dialog.

"I don't think this picture is going to change radically over the next three years," she said.

While more Russians have extra cash, they are less inclined to save it. Only 27 percent of online respondents said they would save their spare cash, compared with a global average of 40 percent, ACNielsen found.

ACNielsen acknowledged, however, that the poll was skewed toward better-educated, wealthier Russians, who are overrepresented among the country's frequent Internet users.

The survey results compare upper middle-class Russians with a more diverse group of consumers in Western Europe or the United States, said Tatyana Kapustina, a consumer goods analyst with Aton Capital.

Also, the readiness to spend money on clothes and gadgets may simply indicate that big-ticket items are unattainable for many consumers, Kapustina said.

"When you cannot afford to buy a car or a house, you go for smaller purchases, such as clothing," she said.

While salaries in Russia are on the rise, average income remains low.

Average per capita monthly income was 8,530 rubles ($298) at the end of last year, a 9.7 percent real increase from 2004, Interfax reported, citing the State Statistics Service.