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GfK Purchasing Power Europe 2016

Bruchsal, 08.11.2016

Purchasing power on the rise in central and eastern European countries

Europeans have around 0.3 percent more nominal purchasing power per person in 2016 compared to last year. The available net income of the population varies substantially among the 42 countries considered by the GfK study. The highest average purchasing power can be found in Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Luxembourg, while the lowest is in Belarus, Moldova and the Ukraine. Ukrainians have only one eightieth the average purchasing power of Liechtenstein inhabitants. These are some of the findings of the study "GfK Purchasing Power Europe 2016".

According to the GfK study, a total of approximately €9.18 trillion is available to European consumers in 2016 for spending and saving. This corresponds to an average per-capita purchasing power of €13,672 for the 42 countries evaluated in the study, which is a nominal increase of approximately 0.3 percent. The low growth in Europe's average per-capita purchasing power is due to exchange rate effects and stagnating growth rates in some of the larger countries, among other factors. Nonetheless, many countries have growth rates above 5 percent, including Iceland, Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Malta, Slovakia, Luxembourg and Latvia.

Top ten purchasing power countries in Europe


2016 ranking (2015)

country

inhabitants

GfK Purchasing Power 2016 per inhabitant in €

European purchasing power index*

1 (1)

Liechtenstein

37,366

63,011

460.9

2 (2)

Switzerland

8,237,666

42,300

309.4

3 (4)

Luxembourg

576,249

30,248

221.2

4 (3)

Norway

5,213,985

27,893

204.0

5 (9)

Iceland

332,529

24,272

177.5

6 (5)

Denmark

5,707,251

23,699

173.3

7 (7)

Austria

8,584,926

22,536

164.8

8 (10)

Sweden

9,851,017

21,966

160.7

9 (8)

Germany

81,197,537

21,879

160.0

10 (6)

Great Britain

65,110,034

21,141

154.6

 

Europe (total)

673,454,759

13,672

100.0

source: © GfK Purchasing Power Europe 2016                        
*index per inhab.: European average = 100
exchange rate for non-euro countries: prognosis of European Commission for 2016 from May 3, 2016

There is still a large gap between net incomes in Europe: Inhabitants of Liechtenstein, the country with the highest purchasing power, have almost eighty times as much purchasing power per person as inhabitants of the Ukraine, which has the lowest purchasing power in Europe. The four countries with the greatest number of inhabitants – Germany, Great Britain, France and Italy – comprise approximately 40 percent of Europe's population and almost 60 percent of the continent's purchasing power.
Even within the top-ten ranked countries, Liechtenstein and Switzerland significantly outpace the others with purchasing power values that are 3 to 4.6 times (respectively) the European average. Lagging substantially behind is third-ranked Luxembourg, with 2.2 times the European average. All other countries in the top ten have at least 1.5 times the average European per-capita purchasing power.

Some reshuffling has occurred among the top-ten countries compared to last year, primarily due to exchange rate effects. Luxembourg overtakes Norway to seize third place, while Iceland climbs three slots to fifth place and Great Britain falls four positions to tenth place.

Comparison of selected countries and regions

A comparison of similarly ranked countries in close geographic proximity offers insights into the distribution of wealth. Below are some results from the GfK purchasing power studies for France, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Poland and Hungary. The findings reveal some stark contrasts both between and within these countries with respect to income and the associated spending potential of the population for retail, services, accommodation, insurance, mobility, etc.


2016 ranking (2015)

country

inhabitants

GfK Purchasing Power
2016 per inhabitant in €

European purchasing
power index*

12 (13)

France

63,697,865

19,254

140.8

15 (15)

Netherlands

16,900,726

17,901

130.9

16 (16)

Italy

60,665,551

16,709

122.2

17 (17)

Spain

46,624,382

13,840

101.2

 

Europe (total)

673,454,759

13,672

100.0

29 (28)

Poland

38,437,239

6,366

46.6

30 (31)

Hungary

9,830,485

5,549

40.6

source: © GfK Purchasing Power Europe 2016                        
*index per inhab.: European average = 100
exchange rate of non-euro countries: prognosis of the European Commission for 2016 from May 3, 2016

Relatively balanced picture for the Netherlands
The Netherlands have an average per-capita purchasing power of €17,901, which puts the country in 15th place and 31 percent above the European average.

Representing the country's average is the province of Zeeland, where consumers have a per-capita purchasing power of €17,845. Seven of the nation's twelve provinces are also in this range. These provinces deviate only 6 percent from the average purchasing power in the Netherlands. As such, the regional distribution of purchasing power in this country is very homogeneous.

Purchasing power in the Dutch provinces


rank (of 12)

province

inhabitants

per-capita purchasing power in €

national index*

European index*

1

Utrecht

1,263,572

19,346

108.1

141.5

2

Noord-Holland

2,761,929

19,041

106.4

139.3

3

Zuid-Holland

3,600,011

18,312

102.3

133.9

4

Zeeland

380,726

17,843

99.7

130.5

5

Noord-Brabant

2,488,751

17,771

99.3

130.0

6

Limburg

1,117,941

17,710

98.9

129.5

7

Gelderland

2,026,578

17,659

98.6

129.2

8

Flevoland

401,791

17,316

96.7

126.7

9

Overijssel

1,140,652

16,418

91.7

120.1

10

Drenthe

488,576

16,234

90.7

118.7

11

Friesland

646,257

16,219

90.6

118.6

12

Groningen

583,942

15,208

85.0

111.2

 GfK Purchasing Power Netherlands 2016                             
*index: value per inhabitant / average = 100

The surroundings of Amsterdam in the border areas of the provinces of Noord-Holland, Zuid-Holland and Utrecht have the country's highest per-capita purchasing power. With €19,346 per capita, Utrecht has the highest purchasing power among the twelve provinces. As such, inhabitants of Utrecht have approximately 8 percent more purchasing power than the national average and around 40 percent more than the European average. By contrast, the country's northeastern provinces of Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland have a purchasing power that is 10 to 15 percent below the average. Groningen is in last place with a per-capita purchasing power of €15,208, which is around 15 percent below the national average. Even so, inhabitants of Groningen have around €1,500 more per person than the European average.

France after the administrative reform
France has an average per-capita purchasing power of €19,254, which puts it almost 41 percent above the European average and in 12th place, closely followed by Belgium (€18,983 per capita, in 13th place) and the Netherlands (€17,901 per capita, in 15th).

An administrative reform in France led to a restructuring of the regional levels on January 1, 2016, reducing the previous 22 regions to just 13. The new regions have on average 4.9 million inhabitants instead of the 2.9 million prior to the reform, a fact that impacts the per-capita purchasing power values.

With a per-capita purchasing power of €22,799, the region of Ile-de-France remains far ahead of the rest of the pack. As such, inhabitants of France's capital region have on average 1.2 times more purchasing power than the national average and just under 1.7 times the European average. The only other region with an above-average per-capita purchasing power is Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes: The former Auvergne region is profiting from its fusion with the Rhone-Alpes region, which has higher purchasing power and a higher number of inhabitants.

France's top ten regions


rank (of 13)

region**

inhabitants

per-capita purchasing power in €

national index*

European index*

1

Ile-de-France

11,959,807

22,799

118.4

166.8

2

Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes

7,757,595

19,481

101.2

142.5

3

Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur

4,953,675

19,239

99.9

140.7

4

Centre-Val de Loire

2,570,548

18,906

98.2

138.3

5

Bourgogne-Franche-Comte

2,819,783

18,586

96.5

135.9

6

Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes

5,844,177

18,528

96.2

135.5

7

Bretagne

3,258,707

18,441

95.8

134.9

8

Normandie

3,328,364

18,283

95.0

133.7

9

Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine

5,552,388

18,248

94.8

133.5

10

Pays de la Loire

3,660,852

18,227

94.7

133.3


GfK Purchasing Power France 2016     
*index: value per inhab. / average = 100  
**names as of 01.01.2016

In previous years, the country's Northern region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais was in last place in the regional ranking. The fusion of this region with the Picardie region did little to change this: The per-capita purchasing power available to inhabitants of the new region Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie is 25 percent below the average in the neighboring capital region.

Spain sole country to represent the European average
Spain has a 2016 per-capita purchasing power of €13,840, which puts it 1.2 percent above the European average and in 17th place. Spain is relatively alone in the middle of the European purchasing power ranking. Adjacent in the ranking are Italy (16th place) with €16,709 per person and 22 percent above the European average, and Malta (18th), which is well behind at €11,366 per person.

Spain's wealthiest province is Gipuzka, which has a per-capita purchasing power of around €18,483. Inhabitants of Gipuzka thus have around one-third more than the Spanish average and around the same as inhabitants of Ireland. Inhabitants of Cadiz, the least wealthy province, have an average per-capita purchasing power of just €9,333, which is one-third less than the national average. With a per-capita purchasing power of €13,706, inhabitants of Asturias are almost exactly at the average. 

Top ten provinces in Spain


rank (of 54)

province

inhabitants

per-capita purchasing power in €

national index*

European index*

1

Gipuzkoa

716,834

18,483

133.6

135.2

2

Araba/Alava

323,648

18,103

130.8

132.4

3

Navarra

640,476

17,385

125.6

127.2

4

Madrid

6,436,996

17,355

125.4

126.9

5

Bizkaia

1,148,775

17,210

124.4

125.9

6

Barcelona

5,523,922

16.306

117.8

119.3

7

Girona

753,054

15,442

111.6

112.9

8

Zaragoza

956,006

15,370

111.1

112.4

9

Huesca

222,909

15,363

111.0

112.4

10

Lleida

436,029

15,239

110.1

111.5

GfK Purchasing Power Spain 2016                                        
*index: value per inhabitant / average = 100

North-South divide in Italy

Italy has an average per-capita purchasing power of €16,706, which is around the average of the EU-28 countries. This equates to 22 percent more than the total European average, putting Italy in 16th place among the 42 countries considered by the study.
With a per-capita purchasing power of €22,722, Milan is in first place among the country's 112 provinces. Inhabitants of Milan thus have an average of 36 percent more than the national average. Crotone in Southern Italy takes last place with a per-capita purchasing power of €9,996, which is around 40 percent below the national average.

Top ten provinces in Italy


rank (of 112)

province

inhabitants

per-capita purchasing power in €

national index*

European index*

1

Milano

3,208,509

22,722

136.0

166.2

2

Bologna

1,005,831

22,058

132.0

161.3

3

Trieste

234,874

21,936

131.3

160.4

4

Bolzano / Bozen

520,891

21,099

126.3

154.3

5

Genova

854,099

20,831

124.7

152.4

6

Parma

447,779

20,753

124.2

151.8

7

Lecco

339,254

20,446

122.4

149.5

8

Monza e della Brianza

866,076

20,426

122.2

149.4

9

Valle d'Aosta / Vallee d'Aoste

127,329

20,422

122.2

149.4

10

Gorizia

140,268

19,987

119.6

146.2

 GfK Purchasing Power Italy 2016                                        
*index: value per inhabitant / average = 100

There is a clear North-South divide in the geographic distribution of purchasing power in Italy. The cities of Milan, Bologna, Venice and Torino in Italy's North generally have significantly above-average purchasing power. Milan, the region with the most purchasing power, is two-thirds above the European average. The central region of the country around the level of Rome has purchasing power levels corresponding to the nation's average. From Napoli southward, purchasing power values are significantly below average. Crotone, the region with the lowest purchasing power, remains 30 percent below the European average.

Poland marked by major income disparities
Inhabitants of Poland have a 2016 per-capita purchasing power of €6,366. Ranked 29, Poland has 47 percent of the average European purchasing power.

The nation's district with the highest purchasing power is the capital of Warsaw: With €11,651, inhabitants of this district have on average almost 83 percent more purchasing power than the rest of the country. Despite this, they still have around 15 percent less than the European average. The district of Grojecki has a purchasing power that approximates Poland's national average.

Even so, 19 of Poland's 380 districts have a purchasing power level that is 20 percent or higher than the national average. This indicates growing affluence in some regions. But the situation is entirely different in the 103 districts that fall 20 percent or more below the national average. Inhabitants of Przysuski, Poland's district with the least purchasing power, have just 66.5 percent of Poland's per-capita average.

Top ten districts (Powiaty) in Poland


rank (of 380)

district

inhabitants

per-capita purchasing power in €

national index*

European index*

1

Warszawa

1,744,351

11,651

183.0

85.2

2

Piaseczynski

177,007

9,513

149.4

69.6

3

Warszawski Zachodni

112,957

9,038

142.0

66.1

4

Sopot

37,231

8,999

141.4

65.8

5

Pruszkowski

160,776

8,872

139.4

64.9

6

Poznan

542,348

8,651

135.9

63.3

7

Wroclaw

635,759

8,600

135.1

62.9

8

Katowice

299,910

8,547

134.3

62.5

9

Grodziski

90,656

8,285

130.1

60.6

10

Tychy

128,444

8,060

126.6

59.0

GfK Purchasing Power Poland 2016                                      
*index: value per inhabitant / average = 100

Pockets of wealth in Hungary near capital and toward Austrian border
Hungarians have an average per-capita purchasing power of €5,549, which puts the country one notch below Poland in 30th place. This equates to 40.6 percent of the European average.

Hungary is divided into 20 counties, the most affluent of which is the capital city of Budapest, which has an average per-capita purchasing power of €6,963 per inhabitant. This amounts to around 26 percent more than the national average, but only half of the European average.

Only 7 of the 20 counties have an above-average purchasing power. These are located in and around the capital city of Budapest and in a continuous cluster toward the Austrian border to the west.

Top ten counties (Megyek) in Hungary


rank (of 20)

county

inhabitants

per-capita purchasing power in €

national index*

European index*

1

Budapest

1,759,407

6,963

125.5

50.9

2

Komarom-Esztergom

297,914

6,128

110.4

44.8

3

Fejer

418,487

6,126

110.4

44.8

4

Pest

1,234,541

5,958

107.4

43.6

5

Gyor-Moson-Sopron

455,217

5,849

105.4

42.8

6

Vas

253,689

5,791

104.4

42.4

7

Veszprem

344,302

5,638

101.6

41.2

8

Heves

299,219

5,347

96.4

39.1

9

Tolna

223,618

5,298

95.5

38.8

10

Zala

275,027

5,238

94.4

38.3

GfK Purchasing Power Hungary 2016                                    
*index: value per inhabitant / average = 100

The poorest county is in Hungary's easternmost region, along the border with Romania and the Ukraine: With a per-capita purchasing power of €4,152, Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg lies around 25 percent below the national average and around the same level as the inhabitants of Romania.

About the study

The study "GfK Purchasing Power Europe 2016" is available for 42 European countries at detailed regional levels such as municipalities and postcodes, along with seamlessly fitting data on inhabitants and households as well as digital maps.
Purchasing power is a measure of per-capita disposable income after the deduction of taxes and social security contributions and including any received state benefits. The study indicates per-person, per-year purchasing power levels in euros and as an index value. GfK Purchasing Power refers to nominal disposable income, which means values are not adjusted for inflation. The study draws on statistics on income and tax levels, government benefits and forecasts by economic institutes.
Consumers draw from their general purchasing power to cover expenses related to eating, living, services, energy, private pensions and insurance as well as other expenditures, such as vacation, mobility and consumer purchases.

Additional information on GfK's regional market data can be found at www.gfk.com/marketdata.
Print-quality illustrations can be found here.

About GfK
GfK is the trusted source of relevant market and consumer information that enables its clients to make smarter decisions. More than 13,000 market research experts combine their passion with GfK's long-standing data science experience. This allows GfK to deliver vital global insights matched with local market intelligence from more than 100 countries. By using innovative technologies and data sciences, GfK turns big data into smart data, enabling its clients to improve their competitive edge and enrich consumers' experiences and choices.

To find out more, visit www.gfk.com
or follow GfK on Twitter: www.twitter.com/gfk.

Responsible under press legislation
GfK GeoMarketing GmbH
Public Relations
Cornelia Lichtner
Werner-von-Siemens-Str. 9
Gebäude 6508
76646 Bruchsal; Germany
T+49 7251 9295 270
cornelia.lichtner@gfk.com

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