MOSCOW Russian consumer spending on everyday items fell by 6.5 percent in April compared with the previous month and by 4.9 percent from the same period last year, a survey published on Thursday showed, a reverse of the positive trend seen in March.
The data for April, compiled by research firm Romir, cast doubt over the pace of the recovery in the Russian economy where consumer demand remains the main growth driver.
Russian consumers have borne the brunt of Russia's economic crisis as the weaker rouble drove inflation higher and ate into their purchasing power.
Inflation has fallen recently -- it was at 4.1 percent year-on-year in March, but the latest survey suggests consumer-facing sectors will continue to struggle.
"A general reduction in spending with an unchanged average bill speaks to the fact that Russians have returned to savings mode," Romir said in a statement.
Russia's official statistics service, Rosstat, is yet to publish data for April.
Rosstat recorded a decline in retail sales in March RURSLY=ECI of 0.4 percent year-on-year, nonetheless the best retail sales reading since December 2014.
Romir's survey uses data from 30,000 people in 180 Russian towns and cities with a population of over 100,000.
(Reporting by Alexander Winning Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)