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Consumers (15-06-2009)

Consumers: Quality of service and trust in the market are what count for consumers

Today the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Consumers published detailed reports on consumer satisfaction which cover 8 different markets and 27 Member States. These reports offer a large amount of detailed information of value and interest to national and EU policymakers, business organisations and consumer groups as well as to consumers themselves[1]. The country reports directly compare national results to the EU average, while the overall report and the 8 product market reports have a deeper analysis of policy relevant areas for improving consumer satisfaction.
 
The overall report draws out the main findings at a European level. In the 8 product markets report, there are considerable differences between countries (e.g. differences in satisfaction with the available choice of environmentally friendly goods vary from 30% to 79% satisfied consumers in the market for fresh fruit and vegetables. The 8 markets are: Fruit and vegetables, Non-alcoholic beverages, Meat, ICT-goods, Household electrical appliances, Entertainment and leisure goods, Clothing and footwear, New Motor vehicles. Variations between markets within countries can be seen and trends for any country across these markets can equally be assessed for specific indicators (for example ease of comparing prices and quality, opening hours, choice of environmentally friendly goods etc.).
 
European consumers are in general satisfied with the performance of their markets, however, they are relatively dissatisfied when it comes to the dimension of price/quality. They tended to give more importance to service than to price. Based on the findings of the satisfaction model, it can be said that the main drivers of satisfaction in the European markets surveyed are quality of service and trust in retailers. The main areas where improvement can be assumed to have the largest effect on satisfaction are also related to aspects of consumer protection (advertising, protection of privacy as well as clear and fair contract terms) as well as to the quality of service, namely to the skills and professionalism of staff, timely and accurate delivery .
 
The findings of the report will feed into further retail studies to be carried out by the Commission.
 


[1] Some of these findings have been published as part of the Consumer Market Scoreboard,