At the end of 2017, consumer confidence in Europe continued to increase slightly. In December, the GfK Consumer Climate Index for the EU 28 reached 21.1 points, the highest value in ten years. At the end of the third quarter, this was still at 20.9 points. GfK predicts an increase in private household consumer spending in the European Union of between 1.5 and 2 percent in real terms.
European consumers consider the economy to be on the rise. Economic expectations in December 2017 increased to 17 points on average for all EU countries – a clear increase of 5 points compared to September. France, Germany and Austria showed significant gains. In Romania, on the other hand, consumer confidence in economic growth plummeted against a backdrop of the ongoing government crisis.
These positive consumer evaluations correspond to data from the European Commission, which anticipates an increase in the gross domestic product of EU countries of 2.3 percent.
Income expectations were stepped up slightly on average in Europe from September to December 2017 by 2 points, reaching 15 points. Higher wage expectations had particularly positive growth in Austria and Slovenia. Romania also showed the biggest losses here. The propensity to buy improved compared to September by 1 point, closing at 21 points in December. For this indicator, Poland and Austria recorded the biggest increases.
GfK consumer expert Rolf Bürkl comments, “For the full year of 2017, confidence in economic growth in Europe has risen significantly. Because of this upswing, people are also hoping for increased wages. Income expectations are positive across wide parts of Europe, but are only slightly higher compared to 2016. The same applies to the propensity to buy. Based on all factors, GfK predicts an increase in private household consumer spending in the European Union from 1.5 to 2 percent in real terms for 2018. The European economy will therefore continue to be support by private consumption.”
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