Bruchsal, 28.03.2018

GfK releases new purchasing power study for Germany, Austria & Switzerland

The Swiss once again surpass the Germans and Austrians when it comes to purchasing power. But the available net income within each of these countries also varies markedly. None of the federal states or cantons encompassing the countries’ capitals top the national rankings: The purchasing power hotspots are elsewhere. However, at the more detailed district level, multiple capital city districts dominate Austria’s purchasing power rankings.

According to GfK’s new study, inhabitants of the Swiss canton of Bern, where the country’s government resides, have a 2018 per-capita purchasing power of €37,270. Inhabitants of the Austrian capital federal state of Vienna have €22,817 per person. Inhabitants of Germany’s capital federal state of Berlin have a 2018 per-capita purchasing power of €21,033. As such, all three capital regions fall below their respective national averages. While the gap is only around two percent for Vienna, Bern and Berlin are both approximately eight percent below their countries’ national averages.

Purchasing power measures the available net income of the population, including government subsidies such as unemployment assistance, child benefit and pension contributions. GfK's study illuminates the regional differences both within and between the evaluated countries.

GfK forecasts a 2018 per-capita purchasing power of €40,456 for Switzerland. According to the study, the total purchasing power for Switzerland in 2018 is €340.6 bil. (excluding Liechtenstein). In 2018, Austrians have on average €23,282 per person, with a total purchasing power of approximately €204.2 bil. Germany’s approximately 82.5 million inhabitants command a total purchasing power of €1,893.8 bil. This corresponds to a per-capita purchasing power of €22,992.


Comparison of cantons

As in the previous year, the highest per-capita purchasing power is the cantons of Zug, Schwyz and Nidwalden. Due to the relatively small number of inhabitants, the purchasing power in these three cantons equates to only around five percent of Switzerland’s total purchasing power. The most populous canton of Zurich – which is home to around 18 percent of Switzerland’s population – has more than €68 bil. purchasing power, which is almost 20 percent of the country’s total purchasing power. Zurich also has a high average per-capita purchasing power, coming in at fourth place.

Inhabitants of the second-most populous canton of Bern have almost €38 bil. at their disposal, which comprises around 11 percent of Switzerland’s total purchasing power. Even so, the canton ranks only fifteenth out of 26 in the nation’s per-capita purchasing power rankings.

Top ten cantons in Switzerland in 2018

rankingcantoninhabitantspurchasing power in mil. €per-capita purchasing power in €per-capita purchasing power index*

source: GfK Purchasing Power Switzerland 2018                                                 *index per inhabitant; 100 = national average

Aargau passes up Vaud to take eighth place in this year’s top-ten rankings for per-capita purchasing power in Switzerland’s cantons.


At the more detailed district level, half of the top-ten districts in terms of per-capita purchasing power are located in the canton of Schwyz. Far surpassing all others is the district of Höfe, which has an average per-capita purchasing power of €87,853. This is more than twice the national average. Zurich’s district of Meilen takes second place with 1.5 times the national average, which equates to €62,431 per person. Also located in the canton of Schwyz, Einsiedeln is a new addition to the top-ten districts, pushing Zurich’s district of Uster to eleventh place. Niedwalden and Horgen trade places, with Horgen dropping to seventh place, while Niedwalden moves to fifth place.

The most populous district (Genève) comes in at eighteenth place among Switzerland’s 143 districts. At €43,737 per person, its purchasing power is eight percent above the national average.

Top ten districts in Switzerland in 2018

rankingdistrictinhabitantsper-capita purchasing power €per-capita purchasing power index*
1Höfe district28,53587,853217.2
2Meilen district102,28061,431151.8
3Zug canton123,94860,003148.3
4Küssnacht (SZ) district12,51258,156143.8
5Nidwalden canton42,55651,449127.2
6March district42,78151,308126.8
7Horgen district123,56650,579125.0
8Nyon district98,62547,298116.9
9Lavaux-Oron district61,00246,878115.9
10Einsiedeln district15,36146,562115.1

source: GfK Purchasing Power Switzerland 2018                                                 *index per inhabitant; 100 = national average


With more than €24,000 per person, Lower Austria and Vorarlberg are Austria’s only federal states whose per-capita purchasing power exceeds the national average of €23,282 by more than three percent. Salzburg is in third place, followed closely by Upper Austria, whose per-capita purchasing power index is just above the national average. The remaining federal states are somewhat below Austria’s average, with the federal state of Tyrol in last place, as was the case in the previous year.

Ranking of Austria’s federal states in 2018

rankingfederal stateinhabitantsper-capita purchasing power in €per-capita purchasing power index*
1Lower Austria1,665,75324,338104.5
4Upper Austria1,465,04523,424100.6

source: GfK Purchasing Power Austria 2018                                                                       *index per inhabitant; 100 = national average


More than half of Austria’s districts in the top-ten purchasing power rankings belong to Vienna, although six of Vienna’s districts are also among Austria’s ten lowest ranking districts. This shows how heterogeneously purchasing power is distributed across the various city districts. The district “Vienna 1, Innere Stadt” has a per-capita purchasing power of €38,881, which is 67 percent higher than the Austrian average. With an average per-capita purchasing power of €30,557, the district of “Vienna 13, Hietzing” follows in second place.

Vienna’s surroundings also have an above-average per-capita purchasing power. This is most pronounced in the districts of Mödling, Korneuburg, Eisenstadt (city) and Tulln, all of which take top spots in the national rankings. These districts have average per-capita purchasing power levels ranging from €26,122 to €29,643, which are 14 to 27 percent higher than the national average.

Top ten districts in Austria

rankingdistrictinhabitantsper-capita purchasing power in €per-capita purchasing power index*
1Vienna 1., Innere Stadt16,46538,881167.0
2Vienna 13., Hietzing54,17130,557131.3
4Vienna 19., Döbling72,10728,381121.9
6Vienna 18., Währing51,12826,800115.1
7Eisenstadt (city)14,33926,685114.6
8Vienna 4., Wieden33,03526,554114.1
10Vienna 7., Neubau32,19726,122112.2

source: GfK Purchasing Power Austria 2018                                                                       *index per inhabitant; 100 = national average

Results from GfK’s 2018 purchasing power study for Germany
can be found in the press release from December 12, 2017 at

About the study

GfK Purchasing Power is defined as the sum of the net income of the population according to place of residence. These purchasing power figures take into account income related to self- and non-self employment as well as capital gains and government subsidies, such as unemployment assistance, child benefit and pension contributions. Not included in these calculations are expenditures related to living expenses, insurance, rent and associated costs such as utilities (gas and/or electricity), clothing and savings plans. Calculations are carried out on the basis of reported income and earnings, statistics on state taxes and deductions as well as economic forecasts provided by leading economic institutes.

Additional information on GfK’s regional market data can be found here.

Print-quality illustrations can be found here.

About GfK

GfK connects data and science. Innovative research solutions provide answers for key business questions around consumers, markets, brands and media – now and in the future. As a research and analytics partner, GfK promises its clients all over the world “Growth from Knowledge”.

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