Consumer Markets Scoreboard - 2016 Edition
The 2016 edition of the Consumer Markets Scoreboard provides an overview of EU citizens' assessment of the performance of 42 key consumer markets across the 28 Member States, Norway and Iceland. It has undergone a thorough methodological revision, carried out in consultation with stakeholders and with expert support from the Commission's Joint Research Centre. As part of this revision, a number of methodological changes were introduced in the 2015 survey with a view to deepening the understanding of the reasons why respondents assess markets as they do.
- Market performance is improving: There is a clear improvement in consumers’ assessment of the performance across the markets surveyed, reflecting an acceleration of a positive trend observed since 2010, which may be linked to recent and on-going product and services markets reforms.
- Market performance remains uneven across the Member States and sectors. The largest differences in the assessment of market performance between EU countries are found for the markets for electricity services, water supply, railway transport, mortgages and mobile telephone services. Compared to better assessed markets, these markets are characterised by limited cross-border competition. This suggests that more integrated markets tend to perform better from the consumers' perspective and shows there is still considerable scope for improvement through national structural reforms and a more effective enforcement of the consumer protection rules.
- Despite the fact that improvements are more visible for services markets than for goods markets, the latter continue to be assessed more favourably than services markets. Amongst goods markets the 'fast moving retail' markets – such as non-alcoholic drinks and bread, cereals and pasta – which performed well in previous editions of the Scoreboard, have lost ground compared to other goods markets.
- There are persistent issues in key utilities markets, telecommunications and retail financial services markets, which underline the importance of the current drive to put the consumer at the heart of the Digital Single Market, the Energy Union, and the on-going work following up on the Green Paper on Retail Financial Services in the context of the Action Plan for a Capital Markets Union.
- More consumers switched supplier, but switching remains difficult in some markets. For the first time the Scoreboard also looks into the reasons that prevented consumers from switching supplier. The findings show that in many instances consumers are still concerned that switching may be difficult, or they tried to switch but faced obstacles.
- An in-depth socio-demographic analysis, conducted for the first time, shows that the assessment of market performance is mostly influenced by the financial situation of consumers and their education.