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Europeans have an average of €14,739 per person available for spending and saving in 2019. But disposable net income among the 42 studied countries varies significantly: Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Luxembourg have the highest average purchasing power, while Moldova, Kosovo and Ukraine have the lowest. These are some of the results of the newly released study “GfK Purchasing Power Europe 2019”.
Europeans have just under €10 trillion at their disposal in 2019. Per capita purchasing power grew by approximately 3.5 percent in 2019, which is significantly higher than last year’s value. This corresponds to an average per capita purchasing power of €14,739. The rankings show substantial differences between the studied countries with respect to the amount available to Europeans for food, living, services, energy, private pensions, insurance, vacation, mobility and consumer purchases.
Liechtenstein takes first place again with a per capita purchasing power of €67,550. This far exceeds the values of the other countries and is more than 4.5 times the European average. With €42,067 per person, Switzerland comes in at second place, as was the case last year. All other countries in the top-ten rankings also have significantly above-average per capita purchasing power. Luxembourg makes it into the top three this year with a per capita purchasing power of €35,096, ousting Iceland from third to fourth place. Sweden switches places with Finland, falling from ninth to tenth place.
Sixteen of the countries considered by the study have above-average per capita purchasing power, while twenty-six fall below the European average. Ukraine takes last place with a per capita purchasing power of €1,830.
“GfK Purchasing Power Europe is an important benchmark of the economic strength of a given region, as there are major differences in per capita purchasing power both within and between European countries,” explains Simone Baecker-Neuchl, expert in GfK´s Geomarketing solution area. “It’s therefore crucial that we calculate our international data using consistent quality standards. This makes it possible for companies from all industries to carry out meaningful comparisons between these countries and identify the European regions with the highest purchasing power. These insights offer indispensable support for business decisions related to international location planning and evaluation as well as outside sales management and marketing.”
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 insights into the regional distribution of spending potential.
Netherlands: Balanced distribution of purchasing power
With an average per capita purchasing power of €20,416, the Netherlands has almost 39 percent more than the European average, putting the country in fourteenth place. This purchasing power is fairly evenly distribution among the nation’s twelve provinces. With a per capita purchasing power of €20,442, the province of South Holland is especially close to the national average.
Encompassing the capital city of Amsterdam, the province of North Holland successfully defends its top spot in the rankings. Inhabitants in this province have a per capita purchasing power of €22,076, which is almost 50 percent higher than the European average. By contrast, the provinces of Overijssel, Friesland and Groningen are at the other end of the rankings. With a per capita purchasing power of €18,468, Groningen is around ten percent below the national average, putting it in last place. Even so, inhabitants of this province have more than 25 percent above the European average.
France: Highest purchasing power in arrondissement Boulogne-Billancourt
France has an average per capita purchasing power of €20,306, which is around 38 percent higher than the European average. This puts the country in fifteenth place in the European rankings. 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 €31,469, which is 55 percent more than the national average. The district of Paris takes second place with an average per capita purchasing power of €30,800. Last place goes to the district of Saint-Denis, located to the north of Paris. With an average per capita purchasing power of €14,270, this district has around 30 percent less than the national average.
Italy: Pronounced north-south divide
Italy has an average per capita purchasing power of €17,799, putting the country around 21 percent above the European average and in sixteenth place among the 42 countries considered by GfK’s study. 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 rankings are located in the north of Italy. First place goes to the province of Milan. The area around the fashion metropolis has a per capita purchasing power of €25,077, which is almost 41 percent above the national average and around 70 percent above the European average.
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 €9,983, which is around 44 percent less than the national average and 32 percent less than the European average.
Spain: Alone in the midfield
Spain has a 2019 per capita purchasing power of €14,636, which puts it just €103 or almost 0.7 percent below the European average. No other European country is close to this value. Araba/Alava once again takes first place in the purchasing power rankings for Spain’s provinces. Inhabitants of this province have €20,305 per person for expenditures, which is almost 39 percent more than the national average. But there have been a couple of changes in this year’s rankings: The capital city province of Madrid moves up two spots to third place with a per capita purchasing power of €18,262, while Tarragona also ascends two notches to seventh place. Huesca returns to tenth place after being ousted from the top ten last year by Zaragoza.
Spain’s least affluent provinces are all located in the southwestern part of the country. As in previous years, the Andalusian province of Cadiz takes last place in the province rankings. Inhabitants of this province have a per capita purchasing power of €10,476, which is around 28 percent below the national average.
Czech Republic: Capital city district of Prague tops the rankings
The Czech Republic has a per capita purchasing power of €9,959, which puts it around 32 percent below the European average and in twenty-fourth place among the 42 countries in the study. The capital city district of Prague as well as the two bordering districts of Praha-zapad and Praha-vychod lead the rankings. Inhabitants of the district of Prague have an average of €12,935 per person at their disposal, which is around 30 percent above the national average.
The districts of Rokycany and Benesov make it into the top ten this year. Rokycany leaps from thirteenth to eighth place, while Benesov ousts the district of Kladno from the top ten. Bruntal takes last place among the 79 provinces. Inhabitants of this district have an average per capita purchasing power of €8,328, which is almost 57 percent of the European average.
Poland: Sharp contrasts between rich and poor
Poland’s average per capita purchasing power in 2019 is around €7,589, which is a little more than half of the average European purchasing power. This puts the country in twenty-ninth place in the European rankings. There is an especially large gap between rich and poor in Poland with respect to the distribution of purchasing power in the country’s 380 districts. Warsaw takes first place with a per capita purchasing power of €13,150. Inhabitants of the capital district have 73 percent more money for consumer purchases than the national average.
A newcomer to this year’s top ten is the district of Bielsko-Biala, which moves up four spots compared to 2018. With a per capita purchasing power of €9,853, Bielsko-Biala takes eighth place, while Pruszków falls out of the top ten.
By contrast, the least affluent district of Szydłowiec has a per capita purchasing power of €4,824, which is almost 64 percent of the Polish average and almost one-third of the European average. As such, inhabitants of Poland’s poorest district have a little more than one-third of the money available to inhabitants of affluent Warsaw.
Hungary: Purchasing power highest around capital city
Hungary’s average per capita purchasing power is €7,416, which is approximately half of the European average. As such, Hungary is ranked thirtieth, just below Poland. There have been a couple of changes from last year with respect to Hungary’s 20 counties and the top-ten rankings. Komarom-Esztergom and Fejer as well as Veszprem and Vas switch places, while Csongrad is a new entry to this year’s top ten, pushing Zala from tenth place. First place continues to be occupied by the capital city county of Budapest. With €9,230 per person, inhabitants of Budapest have almost 25 percent more than the national average, but still 37 less than the European average.
Five of Hungary’s twenty counties have above-average purchasing power. All of these counties are located in and around the capital city of Budapest and toward the Austrian border. By contrast, three-fourths of Hungary’s counties have below-average purchasing power. Last place goes to Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg, whose inhabitants have a per capita purchasing power of €5,816, which is almost 78 percent of the national average and 40 percent of the European average.
Romania: Average per capita purchasing power of €5,881
Romania is in thirty-second place in the European rankings with an average per capita purchasing power of €5,881. As such, Romanians have around 60 percent less than the European average. The county of Bucharest leads the rankings with an average per capita purchasing power of €10,452. This equates to 78 percent more money than the rest of the country. At the other end of the rankings is the county of Vaslui, which has an average per capita purchasing power of €3,706. This puts Vaslui around 37 percent below the national average and around 75 percent below the European average.
About the study
The study "GfK Purchasing Power Europe 2019" 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.
on GfK’s regional market data can be found here.
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