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Nuremberg, 04.11.2021

Europeans have an average of €15,055 at their disposal in 2021

The average per capita purchasing power in Europe in 2021 is €15,055. However, disposable net income among the 42 countries surveyed varies significantly: Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Luxembourg have the highest disposable net income by a wide margin, while Kosovo, Moldova, and Ukraine have the lowest. Thus, Liechtensteiners have more than 34 times the amount available for spending and saving than Ukrainians. These are some of the results of the newly released study “GfK Purchasing Power Europe 2021.”

In total, Europeans have around 10.2 trillion euros available to spend in 2021 on food, housing, services, energy costs, private pensions, insurance, vacations, mobility, and consumer purchases. This corresponds to an average per capita purchasing power of €15,055. This means that per capita purchasing power has a nominal growth of 1.9 percent in 2021. However, the amount consumers ultimately have available for spending and saving varies greatly from country to country, as demonstrated by a review of the top 10 countries. 

United Kingdom makes it into the top 10

As in the previous year, Liechtenstein takes first place again with a per capita purchasing power of €64,629. This is almost 4.3 times the European average. Completing the top three of the purchasing power rankings are Switzerland and Luxembourg, as was the case last year. The Swiss have €40,739 per capita available for spending – a bit more than 2.7 times the European average – while Luxembourgers have a per capita purchasing power of €35,096. This is more than 2.3 times the European average.

All other countries in the top ten also have very high per capita purchasing power – at least 55 percent more than the European average. The United Kingdom makes it into the top ten this year with a per capita purchasing power of €23,438, putting it in tenth place. 

Overall, 16 of the 42 countries surveyed are above the European average. This is in contrast to 26 countries whose per capita purchasing power is below average – including Spain, which at €14,709 per capita is slightly below the European average. Ukraine is at the tail end: In the country with the lowest purchasing power in the study, people have only €1,892 per capita and less than 13 percent of the European average at their disposal. 

Filip Vojtech, expert in GfK´s Geomarketing solution area, explains: “After purchasing power stagnated last year due to the Coronavirus pandemic, this year people can at least partially compensate for rising inflation through nominal gains in purchasing power. This means that in 2021 people in Europe will once again have more money available for consumer spending, services, vacations and much more. However, the purchasing power does not develop the same way in every European country: While the United Kingdom moves up two places in the purchasing power ranking, also due to a stronger pound, neighboring Ireland slips down three places. And there have been some changes within countries as well – such as in France, where the gap in purchasing power is widening.” 

Comparison of select countries and regions

Below is a more detailed evaluation of the distribution of purchasing power in the Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Romania. A comparison of these countries offers revealing insights into the regional distribution of spending potential within the respective countries. 

Netherlands: Even distribution of purchasing power in the provinces

The Netherlands rank fourteenth in the European rankings with an average per capita purchasing power of €21,510. This is almost 43 percent above the European average. 
The purchasing power is fairly evenly distributed among the nation’s twelve provinces. In seven of the twelve provinces, average per capita purchasing power deviates by less than 5 percent from the national average. The province of South Holland comes closest, where residents have €21,614 available per capita, just 0.5 percent more than the national average.

The province of North Holland around the capital of Amsterdam, which has the highest purchasing power, has a spending potential of €22,963 per capita, but this is only just under 7 percent above the national average. Groningen, on the other hand, where people have the least money available at €19,536 per capita, is only around 9 percent below the country's average. New in this year's ranking is that Gelderland takes over Zeeland, moving into fifth place.

France: Paris takes the top spot in the purchasing power ranking

The French population has an average of €20,662 per capita at its disposal. The average purchasing power is thus slightly more than 37 percent above the European average. This puts the France in fifteenth place in the European rankings. Predominantly districts in the regions of Île-de-France and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes make the top ten.

For the first time in years, the arrondissement of Boulogne-Billancourt is no longer the leader in purchasing power, but has been knocked off its throne by the neighboring capital of Paris. This year, Parisians have an average per capita purchasing power of €34,536, which is 67 percent above the national average and more than 129 percent above the European average. The inhabitants of Boulogne-Billancourt have per capita purchasing power of €33,525, which is still more than 62 percent above the national average.

In addition, the two arrondissements of Nanterre and Saint-Germain-en-Laye swap fourth and fifth place this year: With a disposable net income of €29,275 per capita, people in Nanterre have 96 euros more at their disposal than residents of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Last place goes to the district of Saint-Denis, located to the north of Paris. With an average per capita purchasing power of €14,086, this arrondissement has around 32 percent less than the national average. The development of the regions in France with the highest and lowest purchasing power shows that the gap between rich and poor has been increasing in recent years.

Italy: Pronounced north-south divide 

In Italy, the average per capita purchasing power is €17,242. This puts Italians slightly more than 14 percent above the European average and in sixteenth place among the 42 countries surveyed. 

There are significant differences in the distribution of purchasing power between Italy’s affluent north and poorer south. All of the provinces in the top ten are therefore located in northern Italy. As in previous years, the province of Milan is the clear leader. The region around the fashion metropolis has a per capita purchasing power of €24,604, which is almost 43 percent above the national average and slightly more than 63 percent above the European average. The province of Genoa moved up three places this year: Now in fourth place with a purchasing power of €21,893 per capita, Genoa pushed Monza and Brianza, Lecco, and Parma down one place each.

The ten least affluent provinces are all located in southern Italy. As in previous years, Crotone ranks last, with only €9,844 disposable income per capita. This corresponds to about 57 percent of the nation's average and slightly more than 65 percent of the European average. At 36th place, the capital province of Roma is just barely in the first third of the ranking: There, the population has €19,153 per capita available for spending, which puts Rome 11 percent above the Italian national average.

Spain: Alone in the European midfield

Spain has a 2021 per capita purchasing power of €14,709, which puts it just 2 percent below the European average. This puts Spain in 17th place and alone in the European midfield.

Among the Spanish provinces, the capital manages to jump to first place in the purchasing power ranking this year: With a per capita purchasing power of €18,576, Madrid displaces long-time leader Araba/Alava to second place, while Gipuzkoa also slips down one place to third. Thus, Madrid is more than 26 percent above the nation's average and more than 23 percent of the European average. In addition, this year Burgos and Navarra swap sixth and eighth place, while there is a new entrant in tenth place, Valladolid, which displaces Huesca from the purchasing power top 10.

Spain’s least affluent provinces are all located in the southwestern part of the country. As in previous years, the province of Badajoz, the largest Spanish province, takes last place in the rankings. The district's inhabitants have a per capita purchasing power of €10,830, which is almost 74 percent of the national average and around 72 percent of the European average.

Czech Republic: Highest amount of spending potential in and around major cities

In the Czech Republic, people have a per capita purchasing power of €10,667 in 2021. This puts the Czechs just under 29 percent below the European average and moves them up one place to 24th. 

As in previous years, the capital city district of Prague once again tops the purchasing power rankings. Inhabitants of this province have €14,114 per capita available for spending and saving, which is more than 32 percent above the national average. However, the purchasing power of Prague residents is still around 6 percent below the European average. The two bordering districts of Praha-zapad and Praha-vychod also have above-average purchasing power, as does the Czech Republic's second largest city, Brno-mesto. 

There were no changes in the top 10 compared to 2020. Last place in the 2021 district ranking again goes to Jesenik in northern Moravia on the Polish border. The district's inhabitants here have a per capita purchasing power of €8,594, which is almost 81 percent of the national average and around 57 percent of the European average. 

Poland: Sharp contrasts between rich and poor

In Poland, the average per capita purchasing power this year is €8,294. This puts the country around 45 percent below the European average and in 28th place among the 42 European countries surveyed.

There is an especially large gap between rich and poor in Poland regarding the distribution of purchasing power in the country’s districts. Only 82 districts have above average per capita purchasing power, while 298 districts are below the national average. 

With a disposable net income of €13,566 per capita, the capital city district of Warsaw comfortably takes first place. Inhabitants of the capital district have almost 64 percent more money for consumer spending and saving than the national average, but still almost 10 percent less than the average European. 

At the lower end of the district rankings is Kolno County, where the per capita purchasing power is just €5,558. This corresponds to 67 percent of the Polish average and almost 37 percent of the European average. Residents of Warsaw have 2.4 times more money available than the people in the least affluent district of Kolno County.

There have been quite a few changes in the top 10 of the purchasing power rankings compared to the previous year: The districts of Wroclaw and Poznan switch third and fourth places. Krakow and Bielsko-Biala each move up two places to sixth and seventh, while Piaseczno slips two places to eighth. Gliwice, on the other hand, makes up one rank and climbs to ninth place. Tychy makes it into the top ten with a per capita purchasing power of €10,664, putting it in tenth place and ousting the district of Warszawski Zachodni.

Hungary: Purchasing power highest around Budapest and near the Austrian border

Hungary’s average per capita purchasing power is €7,643, which is just under 51 percent of the average purchasing power in Europe. As such, Hungary again ranks thirtieth this year in the comparison.

Looking at the 20 districts of Hungary shows that the areas with the highest purchasing power have managed to hold on to their place in the rankings. The capital city district of Budapest continues to lead the rankings by a significant margin: Hungarians residing here have €9,722 of disposable income. This puts Budapest's disposable income just over 27 percent above the national average, but also almost 35 percent below the European average.

The number of districts with above-average purchasing power also remains unchanged compared to the previous year: Only in five of the 20 districts do people have more money at their disposal than the national average. All of these districts are located in and around the capital city of Budapest and toward the Austrian border. By contrast, 15 or three-quarters of Hungary’s districts have below-average purchasing power. Last place goes to Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg, whose residents have a per capita purchasing power of €5,944, which is almost 78 percent of the national average and less than 40 percent of the European average. 

Romania: Bucharest takes the top spot in the purchasing power ranking by far

Romania ranks 31st out of the 42 countries surveyed in the European rankings. With an average per capita purchasing power of €7,453, Romanians have slightly less than half the European average at their disposal. 

Similar to France and Poland, Romania also has a very wide gap between rich and poor. The capital city district of Bucharest leads the top 10 rankings by a significant margin. This year, Bucharesters have an average per capita purchasing power of €13,856, which is almost 86 percent above the national average but still 8 percent below the European average. The people of Bucharest have more than three times the purchasing power of the inhabitants of the least affluent district, Vaslui. Here, disposable net income is just €4,180, which is around 56 percent of the national average and just under 28 percent of the European average.

 

About the study

The study “GfK Purchasing Power Europe 2021” 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 disposable income after the deduction of taxes and charitable contributions and including any received state benefits. The study indicates per-person, per-year purchasing power levels in euros and as an index. GfK Purchasing Power is based on the population's nominal disposable income, which means values are not adjusted for inflation. Calculations are carried out on the basis of reported income and earnings, statistics on government benefits as well as economic forecasts provided by economic institutes. 

Consumers draw from their general purchasing power to cover expenses related to eating, living, services, energy, private pensions and insurance plans as well as other expenditures, such as vacation, mobility and consumer purchases. 

Additional information

on GfK's regional market data can be found here.

Print-quality images

can be found here.

Press contact: Eva Böhm, T +49 911 395 4440, public.relations@gfk.com 

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For over 85 years, we have earned the trust of our clients around the world by solving critical business questions in their decision-making process around consumers, markets, brands and media. Our reliable data and insights, together with advanced AI capabilities, have revolutionized access to real-time actionable recommendations that drive marketing, sales and organizational effectiveness of our clients and partners. That’s how we promise and deliver “Growth from Knowledge”.

 


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