Tighter restrictions will increase demand volatility and lead to notable HORECA channel disruptions. Major European markets should still be able to avoid full lockdowns, but executives should note that risks remain elevated, especially in Central Europe. In Austria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, MNCs should expect a stronger shift toward digital sales in the short term and should ensure they are able to reposition quickly to capture existing demand opportunities.
The Austrian government is moving forward with plans to impose a full lockdown. Slovakia is also introducing a full lockdown despite earlier tightening of restrictions. German and Spanish regional authorities are tightening local restrictions, banning the use of negative COVID-19 tests to access bars and restaurants.
The length of the new lockdowns is intended to be much shorter and their timing indicates that the economic impact should be notably softer. Tighter restrictions across Europe will have an impact on the retail and HORECA channels, suggesting that some consumer demand will again shift online, especially in markets with low vaccination rates. More encouragingly, we continue to expect that major European markets, such as Germany, Spain, and the UK, will manage to avoid lockdowns and that the tighter measures will not derail the pace of the recovery. MNCs need to continue to monitor the situation closely, as recent developments highlight the growing risks stemming from the uneasy epidemiological situation, especially in Central Europe.
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