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GfK: Purchasing Power in Europe 2018

Nuremberg / DE. (gfk) Europeans have an average of EUR 14,292 per person available for spending and saving in 2018. This is one of the results of the study «GfK Purchasing Power Europe», which is available immediately from GfK market research. Disposable net income among the 42 studied countries varies substantially: Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Iceland have the highest average purchasing power, while Belarus, Moldova and the Ukraine have the lowest.

In 2018, Europeans have a total of approximately EUR 9.7 trillion available. Per capita purchasing power grew by around 2.5 percent in 2018, which is significantly above last year’s figure. This corresponds to an average per capita purchasing power of EUR 14,292. As the rankings make clear, the amount available to consumers for purchases differs widely from country to country.

As in the previous year, Liechtenstein takes first place, with a per capita purchasing power of EUR 65,438. This far outpaces the other countries and is more than 4.5 times the European average. With a purchasing power of EUR 40,456 per person, Switzerland comes in at second place. Inhabitants of this country have almost three times what is available to the average European. The other countries in the top-ten list also have significantly above-average per capita purchasing power, amounting to at least 1.5 times the European average. Finland makes it into the top ten this year, overtaking the United Kingdom, which comes in at eleventh place with a per capita purchasing power of EUR 20,572.

While 17 countries considered by the study have above-average per capita purchasing power, 25 countries fall below the European average. The Ukraine is in last place with just EUR 1,318 per person.

Comparison of selected countries and regions

Below are details on the distribution of purchasing power in France, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Poland and Hungary. A comparison of these countries, which are close in terms of proximity and purchasing power, offers insights into the regional distribution of spending potential. The results of the GfK purchasing power studies show large differences in per capita purchasing power both within and between these nations.

France: Purchasing power highest in the regions Île-de-France and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

France’s average purchasing power is around 40 percent higher than the European average. As such, inhabitants of this nation have on average EUR 20,038 per person at their disposal, putting the country in thirteenth place in the European rankings.

The rankings show that predominantly districts in the regions of Île-de-France and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes make the top ten. First place goes to Boulogne-Billancourt. Located to the southwest of Paris, inhabitants of this district have a per capita purchasing power of EUR 30,310, which is more than two times the European average. The district of Paris comes in at third place with an average per capita purchasing power of EUR 29,433.

At the other end of the rankings are districts such as Vervins, Lens and Saint-Denis. The latter is in last place with an average per capita purchasing power of EUR 14,696, which equates to a disposable income around 27 percent below the national average.

The Netherlands: Balanced distribution of purchasing power

With an average per capita purchasing power of EUR 18,823, inhabitants of the Netherlands have around 32 percent more than the European average, putting the country in fifteenth place.

Regional purchasing power is quite evenly distribution across the Netherlands, which can be seen in the figures for the nation’s twelve provinces. In half of the provinces, the average per capita purchasing power deviates no more than three percent from the national average. Among these is the province of Noord-Brabant, which has a purchasing power especially close to the national average. Located in the southern part of the country and bordering the Belgian region of Flanders, inhabitants of this province have EUR 18,645 per person at their disposal.

Encompassing the capital city of Amsterdam, the province of Noord-Holland successfully holds on to the top spot in the rankings. Inhabitants in this province have a per capita purchasing power of EUR 20,364, which is around 43 percent more than the European average.

By contrast, the country’s northeastern provinces of Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland are at the other end of the rankings. With a per capita purchasing power of EUR 16,923, Groningen is around ten percent below the national average, putting it in last place. Even so, inhabitants of this province still have EUR 2,600 per person, which is around 18 percent more than the European average.

Italy: Purchasing power higher in the north than the south

With an average per capita purchasing power of EUR 17,601, Italians have around 23 percent more than the European average, putting the country in sixteenth place amount the 42 nations considered by the GfK study.

Italy has a total of 109 provinces. The provinces of Potenza and Campobasso in southern Italy are particularly close to the European average with regard to purchasing power. Inhabitants of Potenza have an average of EUR 14,301 per person, while inhabitants of Campobasso have an average of EUR 14,264 per person.

GfK’s study demonstrates a clear north-south divide with respect to the geographic distribution of purchasing power in Italy. All of Italy’s provinces ranked in the top ten are located in northern Italy. Surpassing all others is the province of Milano, in which the metropolis of the same name is located. Inhabitants of this province have a per capita purchasing power of EUR 24,080. This is almost 37 percent more than the national average and around 69 percent more than the European average.

By contrast, the ten least affluent provinces are all located in southern Italy. Last place goes to Crotone, which is situated in the country’s far south. Inhabitants of this province have a per capita purchasing power of EUR 10,361, which is around 41 percent less than the national average and 27 percent less than the European average.

Spain: Purchasing power around the European average

With a 2018 per capita purchasing power of EUR 14,324, Spain comes in at just 0.2 percent or EUR 32 above the European average. This puts Spain alone in the midfield with respect to the other European countries under review: Italy, the next most affluent country, has a per capita purchasing power of EUR 17,601, which is more than 23 percent of the European average; Portugal, the next least affluent country after Spain, has a per capita purchasing power of EUR 11,805, which is more than 17 percent less than the European average.

The top-ten list of Spain’s 54 provinces reveals two changes from last year: Encompassing the industrial port city of Bilbao, the province of Bizkaia in Basque Country changes position with Madrid, pushing the capital city province to fifth place. With EUR 17,696 per person, inhabitants of Bizkaia have three more euros per person at their disposal than inhabitants of Madrid. A newcomer to this year’s top-ten list is Zaragoza. With a per capita purchasing power of EUR 15,772, this province takes tenth place, relegating the neighboring province of Huesca to eleventh place.

Araba/Alava is Spain’s province with the highest purchasing power. With a per capita purchasing power of EUR 19,717, this province has almost 38 percent more than the national average. As in previous years, last place goes to the Andalusian province of Cadiz, whose inhabitants have just EUR 10,173 per person, which equates to 71 percent of the national average.

With EUR 14,279 per person, the northern province of Asturias has a purchasing power level closest to Spain’s average. Known for its green coastal landscape, Asturias’ per capita purchasing power falls 0.3 percent below the Spanish average and 0.1 percent below the European average.

Poland: Widening purchasing power gap

Poland’s 2018 average per capita purchasing power is around EUR 7,228, which is approximately half of the European average. This puts Poland in twenty-ninth place in the European rankings.

The contrast between rich and poor is especially high in Poland compared to other European countries: Among Poland’s 380 districts, inhabitants of the least affluent district have less than one third of the money available to inhabitants of the wealthiest district.

Top-ranked among Poland’s districts is Warszawa, which at EUR 13,535 has the highest per capita purchasing power by a significant margin. As such, inhabitants of this capital district have 87 percent more than the national average and almost 95 percent of the European average. Representing the Polish average are the two districts Kepinski and Minski, which have a per capita purchasing power of EUR 7,243 and EUR 7,218, respectively. Inhabitants of the poorest district Przysuski have just EUR 4,295 of per capita purchasing power, which is less than 60 percent of the Polish average.

Notable in this regard is Poland’s ever widening purchasing power gap. Around 24 of Poland’s 380 districts have a per capita purchasing power at least 20 percent above the national average. By contrast, around 131 districts are at least 20 percent below the national average. By way of comparison, last year there were 22 districts with higher purchasing power and 119 districts with lower purchasing power.

Hungary: High purchasing power counties around the capital extending to the Austrian border

Hungary has an average per capita purchasing power of EUR 6,654. This equates to almost 47 percent of the European average, which puts Hungary in thirtieth place, directly behind Poland.

Among Hungary’s counties with the least purchasing power, there have been a couple of changes in the rankings compared to the previous year. By contrast, there have been no changes among the top-ten counties, which continue to be led by the capital city county of Budapest. With EUR 8,191 per person, inhabitants of Budapest have 23 percent more than the national average, but almost 43 percent less than the European average.

Seven of Hungary’s 20 counties have above-average purchasing power. These are all located in and around the capital city of Budapest as well as in a westerly direction extending to the Austrian border. Directly bordering Austria, Gyor-Moson-Sopron has a purchasing power level that is closest to Hungary’s average. Inhabitants in this county have 1.7 percent more money for spending than the national average.

In last place among Hungary’s countries is Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg, which is located in the northeastern area of the country along the border with Romania and the Ukraine. Inhabitants of this county have a per capita purchasing power of EUR 5,281, which is almost 80 percent of the national average and 37 percent of the European average.