European consumers to keep spending

07 September 2009

LONDON: Some 61% of European consumers will maintain their expenditure levels over the next 12 months, while 31% intend to cut back, and just 8% to increase their overall outlay, a study by Millward Brown has found.

As discussed in more detail here, Millward Brown screened data from 4,733 consumers across 11 European countries, and conducted interviews with 1,700 members of this panel.

In terms of the "overall feeling" in these nations compared with one year ago, 47% of people in Britain said the current climate was worse, a figure that fell to 44% in France and 42% in Germany.

More than a third of participants in Turkey, Romania, Spain and Poland shared this view, compared with 25% in the Czech Republic and 18% in the Netherlands.

By contrast, 40% of Turkish consumers thought conditions had improved in the last 12 months, with over 30% of Romanians and Poles, and more than a quarter of Dutch, Czech, Italian and Portuguese contributors agreeing with this statement.

However, a majority of respondents in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania predicted their national economic outlook would depreciate in the coming year.

Just 35% of the sample in the UK said the same, compared with 42% who believed the financial situation will improve, making the country the best-performing market on this measure.

In terms of future spending, Poland was the only nation to register a pronounced uptick in planned expenditure, with 34% of participants expecting to boost the amount they allocate to making purchases.

France posted the next highest total, on just 8%, followed by Germany on 6%, and Italy and Romania, which both registered a score of 5%.

By contrast, 55% of their counterparts in the UK will cut back, as will 44% of the sample in Turkey and Portugal, and over a third of Romanians and Spaniards.

However, three-quarters of Czechs will maintain their spending, as will 70% of shoppers in Germany, 68% in the Netherlands, 65% in Italy, and 63% in France.

Overall, Millward Brown identified four ways in which the countries it assessed are reacting to the recession: "pragmatic coping", "disorientation", "stand-by mode" and "future-focused".

Consumers are also displaying certain specific behavioural traits, including "cocooning 2.0", buying "little treats" and "scrutinising consumption".

A full analysis of Millward Brown's findings is available to WARC subscribers here.

Data sourced from WARC