GfK study shows uneven distribution of purchasing power across Europe

GfK Purchasing Power Europe, 2013/14

November 4, 2013. - The updated study "GfK Purchasing Power Eu-rope 2013/2014" reveals the regional distribution of consumers' pur-chasing power in 42 European countries. The spectrum ranges from 4.5 times the European average in Liechtenstein to one-tenth the av-erage in Moldova.

According to the GfK purchasing power study, a total of approximately €8.62 trillion is available to European consumers in 2013 for spending and saving. This corresponds to an average per-capita purchasing power of €12,890 for the 42 countries under review.

Considerable discrepancies remain between the income available to inhabitants of these 42 countries for consumer spending.

Liechtenstein remains in the top position with a per-capita purchasing power of €58,844. Switzerland takes second place with €36,352, followed by Norway with €31,707 of per-capita purchasing power. Moldova is once again in last place with only around €1,284 per person. This amounts to less than one-tenth of the European average of approximately €12,370 per person; this latter figure roughly corresponds to the purchasing power of Spain.

General purchasing power refers to the money available to consumers for all expenditures related to food, accommodation and services as well as consumer purchases. Inhabitants of the European countries with the highest purchasing power must devote a large portion of their income to rent and generally more expensive living costs. Even so, inhabitants of these countries have substantially more money for non-essential purchases than consumers in countries with low purchasing power. The Europe-wide per-capita growth (revised) is 0.39 percent, which lies below the inflation rate of 1.5 percent determined by the European Central Bank. The GfK purchasing power study reflects the nominal purchasing power in euros, which provides a unified basis for comparing these values down to the most detailed level, Europe-wide. The exchange rates for non-euro countries are based on Eurostat figures from August 8, 2013. 

Top 10 countries based on per-capita purchasing power  

rank  

country  

inhabitants  

2013 purchasing power in millions of €  

2013 per-capita purchasing power in €  

European index*  

1

Liechtenstein

36,475

2,146.4

58,844

456.5

2

Switzerland

7,954,662

289,162.7

36,351

282.0

3

Norway

5,051,275

160,162.8

31,707

246.0

4

Luxembourg

537,039

15,136.4

28,185

218.6

5

Sweden

9,555,893

206,793.4

21,640

167.9

6

Austria

8,443,018

179,797.6

21,295

165.2

7

Denmark

5,602,628

118,555.5

21,161

164.2

8

Germany

81,843,743

1,687,700.0

20,621

160.0

9

France

63,088,990

1,234,345.9

19,565

151.8

10

Finland

5,426,674

105,523.7

19,445

150.9

 

Europe

 

670,578,729

8,622,034.8
(=approx., €8.6 trillion)

12,890

 

100

 

Source: © GfK Purchasing Power Europe 2013/2014 *Index per inhab.; European average = 100

Regional comparisons within and between countries

Northern Europe from Norway's perspective

Norway ranks third in Europe, and its Nordic neighbors are also strong performers: Sweden ranks fifth, Denmark  seventh and Finland 10th. With the exception of Iceland (ranked 13th), all of these countries are among the ten European countries with the most per-capita purchasing power.

Norwegians have an average of approximately €10,000 more at their disposal than Swedes, who have €21,640 per person. But Sweden is the victor when it comes to total market volume: The approximately 9.5 million Swedes have a total purchasing power of €206 billion, while the approximately 5 million Norwegians have €160 billion, despite an almost fifty percent higher per-capita purchasing power.

Purchasing power differences exist across the regions of these countries, but they are not nearly as pronounced as in the central and eastern European countries: At the level of Norway’s 90 "Oekonomiske Regionar", the divide ranges from a national index of 121.3 in Baerum, 111.9 in Stavanger (ranked second) and 111.0 in Oslo (ranked third) to 87.3 in Nord-Gudbrandsdalen. The inhabitants of this least wealthy region in Norway still have an average per-capita purchasing power of €27,676. This is 34 percent more than the national average for Germany and approximately the same amount available to inhabitants of the rural district of Ebersberg, which is ranked sixth among Germany's districts. Inhabitants of Reykjavík, the Icelandic district with the most purchasing power, have €19,289 available per person, which is significantly less than the least wealthy Norwegians. With €26,459 available per person, inhabitants of Sweden's wealthy capital Stockholm also have less than the “poorest” Norwegians.

country

capital

inhabitants

2013 per-capita purchasing power in €

European index*

national index

Norway

Oslo

623,966

35,182

272.9

111.0

Sweden

Stockholm

881,235

26,459

205.3

122.3

Denmark

Copenhagen

559,440

20,154

156.4

95.2

Finland

Helsinki

603,968

23,239

180.3

119.5

Iceland

Reykjavík

119,764

19,289

149.6

109.6


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