BRUSSELS: Fast-moving consumer goods firms and personal care providers have the best satisfaction ratings among European shoppers, but the financial sector remains unpopular, new figures show.

The European Commission polled 500 people in each of the European Union's 27 member states regarding the ease of comparing, choosing and switching products, their trust in businesses, any problems they had experienced and their overall satisfaction.

Across the 51 categories assessed, totals on this metric came in at 80.4 points in 2012, measured against readings of 79.5 points in 2011 and 78.2 points in 2010.

When specifically discussing goods, the books, magazines and newspapers sector posted the highest score, 103.7 points, although this figure had dropped from 104.3 points last year.

Non-alcoholic drinks took second on 102.8 points, unchanged from the previous round of research conducted in 2011.

Staples such as bread, cereals, rice and pasta logged 102.6 points, up by 0.4 points on an annual basis, and completed the top three.

Second-hand car sales had the worst returns in terms of buying goods on 92 points, with fuel for cars on 93.8 points. Clothing and footwear followed on 97.1 points, with new cars on 98.5 points.

"Consumer expenditure accounts for 56% of overall European GDP," said Tonio Borg, the health and consumer policy commissioner.

"Markets where consumers are confused, misled, find it hard to switch or have little choice will be less competitive, at a cost to consumers and the economy as a whole."

Looking at services, personal care providers were on 107.7 points, the best tally overall, beating culture and entertainment on 106.6 points, both having recorded declines of 0.4 points year on year.

At the negative end of the spectrum, investment products, pensions and securities received the lowest level of approval on 93.6 points, with mortgages on 94.6 points.

Other industries yielding relatively low returns were electricity companies on 96.3 points, bank accounts on 96.8 points, mobile phone services on 97.1 points and internet providers on 97.6 points.

Data sourced from European Commission; additional content by Warc staff