The average per capita purchasing power in Europe in 2022 is €16,344. However, there are tremendous differences among the 42 countries: Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Luxembourg have a significantly higher spending potential than the rest of Europe, while the purchasing power is the lowest in Kosovo, Moldova, and Ukraine. Thus, Liechtensteiners have more than 43 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 2022.”
In 2022, Europeans have around 11.1 trillion euros available to spend on food, housing, services, energy costs, private pensions, insurance, vacations, mobility, and consumer purchases. This corresponds to an average per capita purchasing power of €16,344, which represents a nominal growth of 5.8 percent compared to the previous year. However, the amount consumers actually have available for spending and saving varies greatly from country to country, and also depends on how consumer prices develop in 2022.
Ireland enters the purchasing power top 10
As in previous years, Liechtenstein tops the purchasing power ranking by some distance. Located between Austria and Switzerland, the principality has a per capita purchasing power of €66,204, which means that Liechtensteiners have almost 4.1 times the purchasing power of the average European. Switzerland and Luxembourg follow in second and third place: while the per capita purchasing power of the Swiss is €41,758 – almost 2.6 times the European average – Luxembourgers have a spending potential of €37,015 per capita. This is almost 2.3 times more than the European average.
All other countries in the top 10 also have a very high per capita purchasing power – at least 47 percent more than the European average. Ireland enters the top 10 this year with a per capita purchasing power of €24,052, while Sweden slips down two places to eleventh. In addition, Norway and Iceland swap fourth and fifth place this year. The United Kingdom moves up three places to seventh, while Austria falls two places to ninth.
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 €15,314 per capita is closest to the European average. Ukraine is still at the bottom of the ranking; due to the ongoing war, Ukrainians only have €1,540 per capita at their disposal, which amounts to a bit more than 9 percent of the European average.
Filip Vojtech, expert in GfK’s Geomarketing solution area, explains: “Purchasing power had already recorded moderate growth last year, and is projected to rise again this year by almost 6 percent on average in Europe, which represents a three-fold increase compared to 2021. However, this increase in purchasing power will only partially compensate for the sharp rise in inflation resulting from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, which has reached double figures in many European countries. Together with a fear of rising energy prices and uncertainty over future economic developments, people are more likely to put money aside as far as possible and postpone any plans for bigger purchases.“
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 these respective countries.
Netherlands: Even distribution of purchasing power in the provinces
With an average per capita purchasing power of €23,873, the Netherlands holds 12th place in the European ranking. The Dutch have around 46 percent more money available for spending and saving than the European average.
On a provincial level, it is evident that regional purchasing power is fairly evenly distributed and that the purchasing power gap is narrowing from year to year. In eleven of the twelve provinces, average per capita purchasing power deviates by less than 6 percent from the national average. Bringing up the rear, Groningen is the only province with a purchasing power slightly more than 8 percent below the national average at €21,950 per capita. The province of Zuid-Holland comes closest to the national average, where the inhabitants are only 0.1 percent below the average at €23,848 per capita.
Utrecht has the highest per capita purchasing power: The smallest province in terms of land area in the country deposed Noord-Holland from the top of the rankings this year with a disposable net income of €25,206, which means that the inhabitants of Utrecht have almost 6 percent more than the national average. In addition, Flevoland and Drenthe swap places this year in eight and ninth, while Overijssel and Fryslan swap places in tenth and eleventh.
France: Paris retains top spot in the purchasing power ranking
The French have an average of €21,942 per capita at their disposal this year. This puts France slightly more than 34 percent above the European average and in 15th place among all European countries. Most of the top 10 positions are occupied by districts in the regions of Île-de-France and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.
After Paris replaced the Boulogne-Billancourt arrondissement as the leader in purchasing power in 2021, the capital is defending the top spot again this year. Parisians have a per capita purchasing power of €36,316, which is more than 65 percent above the national average. The population of second-placed Boulogne-Billancourt has €34,656 per capita at its disposal, which is almost 58 percent above the national average.
At €21,943 per capita, the district of Dijon is only one euro above, and therefore the closest to the national average. As in the previous year, last place goes to the arrondissement of Saint-Denis, located to the north of Paris. With an average per capita purchasing power of €14,905, this arrondissement is more than 32 percent less than the national average.
Italy: Strong purchasing power in the north versus weak purchasing power in the south
In Italy, the average per capita purchasing power is €18,905. This puts Italians almost 16 percent above the European average and in 16th 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 top 10 provinces are located in northern Italy, with the province of Milano taking top spot as in previous years. The region around the fashion metropolis Milan has a per capita purchasing power of €27,013, which is almost 43 percent above the national average.
There have been some changes in places five to eight this year. Monza e della Brianza moves up one place to fifth, while Parma climbs two places to sixth. Genova drops to eighth place as a result. The province of Piacenza enters the top 10, occupying tenth place with a per capita purchasing power of €22,544.
The ten least affluent provinces are all located in southern Italy. As in previous years, Crotone ranks last, with only €10,790 disposable income per capita. This corresponds to almost 57 percent of the national average. Spending potential in Perugia is closest to the national average: with a per capita purchasing power of €18,918, the province is 0.1 percent above the national average.
Spain: Still alone in the European midfield
In Spain, the population has a per capita purchasing power of €15,314. This is slightly more than 6 percent below the European average. Spain ranks 17th out of the 42 European countries and is alone in the European midfield, but it is slightly further away from the European average compared to previous years.
In 2021, the Spanish capital Madrid moved to first place in the provincial ranking, displacing long-time leader Araba/Alava to second place, but a new province occupies top spot this year. With a per capita purchasing power of €19,328, Gipuzkoa is leading the field with a figure more than 26 percent above the national average. Madrid and Araba/Alava slip down one place each to second and third. Navarra and Zaragoza also swap places in seven and eight.
The Balearic Islands archipelago is closest to the national average: At €15,596 per capita, the popular vacation destination is almost 2 percent above the national average. Provinces in the southwest of mainland Spain occupy the places at the bottom of the ranking. As in previous years, the geographically largest Spanish province of Badajoz occupies last place in the ranking. With a per capita purchasing power of €11,309, the inhabitants of Badajoz have almost 74 percent of the national average at their disposal.
Czech Republic: Highest per capita purchasing power in and around major cities
In the Czech Republic, the per capita purchasing power this year is €12,970. This puts the Czechs slightly less than 21 percent below the European average and moves the Czech Republic up to 22nd place among the 42 countries surveyed.
As in previous years, the capital city district of Praha once again tops the district ranking. Inhabitants of this district have €17,183 per capita available for spending and saving, which is more than 32 percent above the national average. The purchasing power of the inhabitants of Praha is therefore more than 5 percent above the European average. While there were no changes in ranking among the Czech top 10 last year, the ranking has had a major reshuffle this year, apart from first place. The two districts of Praha-zapad and Praha-vychod, which border Prague and occupied second and fourth places in 2021, have dropped out of the top 10 together with the Hradec Kralove district.
Brno-mesto moves up one place in 2022 to second place. In the country's second largest city, the population has a per capita purchasing power of €14,055, which is more than 8 percent above the national average. The districts of Mlada Boleslav, Beroun, Benesov and Kladno have also improved, while the fourth largest city Plzen-mesto drops four places to ninth. New entries to the top 10 include Pribram in seventh, Kolin in eighth and Nymburk in tenth.
In the district of Praha-vychod, the spending potential of €12,992 per capita is closest to the national average. As in previous years, Jesenik, which is located in Northern Moravia on the Polish border, occupies the bottom spot in the district ranking. Inhabitants of this district have a per capita purchasing power of €10,427, which is around 20 percent below the national average.
Poland: Sharp contrasts in the distribution of purchasing power
The average per capita purchasing power in Poland is €9,254. This puts the Poles slightly more than 43 percent below the European average, and the country slips one place to 29th in the ranking of all 42 countries.
The district ranking in Poland shows that there is a particularly large gap in the distribution of purchasing power. Only 82 districts have above average per capita purchasing power, while the disposable net income of 298 districts is below the national average. A comparison between the first and last-placed districts clearly highlights the purchasing power gap in Poland: while the inhabitants of the capital district of Warszawa have a per capita purchasing power of €14,900, which is 61 percent above the national average, the population of Kolnenski only has €6,179 per capita, which is more than 33 percent less spending power than the average Pole. This means that the inhabitants of the capital can spend or save more than 2.4 times as much on shopping, rent and electricity.
Compared to the previous year, Katowice and Poznan swap fourth and fifth places, while Gliwice moves to eighth place this year, pushing Piaseczno down to ninth. The Krakow district around the second largest city has a purchasing power closest to the average; inhabitants of this district have €9,222 per capita available for spending and saving, which is about 0.3 percent less than the national average.
Hungary: Purchasing power highest in and around Budapest, and toward the Austrian border
Hungary ranks 30th out of the 42 countries surveyed in the European ranking. With an average per capita purchasing power of €8,751, Hungary is more than 46 percent below the European average.
The analysis of Hungary's 20 counties shows that little has changed in the top 10 and that the regions with high purchasing power were able to defend their top positions. As in the previous year, the capital city county of Budapest leads the ranking by a significant margin; the population has €11,293 of disposable income per capita for spending and saving, which corresponds to 29 percent more than the national average. The only change this year is that Tolna and Gyor-Moson-Sopron have swapped places in seven and ninth.
As in 2021, five of Hungary’s 20 counties continue to have above-average purchasing power this year. All of these counties are located either in or around the capital city of Budapest, or toward the border with their Austrian neighbors. With a disposable net income of €8,815 per person, Veszprem is only 0.7 percent above the national average and therefore comes closest to it.
By contrast, 15 or three-quarters of Hungary’s counties have a below-average purchasing power. As in the previous year, the bottom spot is occupied by the Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg county, where inhabitants have a per capita purchasing power of €6,792, which corresponds to almost 78 percent of the national average.
Romania: Gap in purchasing power is widening
Romania has a spending potential of €8,017 per capita this year. This is 51 percent below the European average and puts the Romanians in 31st place.
Compared to the previous year, the gap between counties with high and low purchasing power has widened even further this year. In the top 10 ranking, Bucuresti is clearly leading the field with a per capita purchasing power of €15,482. This means that the inhabitants of the capital have more than 93 percent more purchasing power than the national average and 3.6 times more than the inhabitants of the Vaslui county, which has the lowest purchasing power in terms of spending and saving. Here, disposable net income is just €4,728, which is around 53 percent of the national average.
All counties in the top 10 have an above-average per capita purchasing power. With a spending potential of €8,191 per inhabitant, tenth-placed Prahova comes closest to the national average but is still 2.2 percent above it. All other 32 counties, which constitute more than three quarters of all counties, are below the national average.
Most of the counties in the top 10 are the same as the previous year, albeit with some changes in ranking. In 2022, Cluj overtook Timis to move into second place with a per capita purchasing power of €11,643, while Arges and Arad counties swapped places in seven and eight.
About the study
The study “GfK Purchasing Power Europe 2022” 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 it also includes 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 vacations, mobility and consumer purchases.
on GfK's regional market data can be found here.
can be found here.
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