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Consumers (26-06-2009)

New comprehensive data on consumers in Europe released

How many Europeans find it easy to switch a mobile-phone or electricity supplier? How many of them and in which countries have complained about their internet service provider or their postal service? How many are at ease shopping in another country?

The answers to these questions and many more are to be found in the 2009 edition of “Consumers in Europe” , released by the European Commission today. The publication contains comprehensive data on consumer behaviour and consumer markets in the EU. The aim is to provide reliable information on major consumer trends in Europe to policy makers, consumer advocates, business and the media.

The report starts with a profile of European consumers, looking at how much they spend on which goods and where they prefer to buy them, for example. But the section also portrays their perceptions of the quality and safety of goods and services, as well as their views on how easy it is to switch suppliers or compare offers, among a wealth of other data.

The rest of the report is a snapshot of twelve specific consumer markets across the EU. They are: food and non-alcoholic drinks; alcoholic drinks and tobacco; clothing and footwear; housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels; furniture, household equipment and maintenance; health; transport; communications; recreation and culture; education; hotels and catering; miscellaneous (such as personal care). For each of the markets, data are provided (wherever available) on access and choice, consumption, prices, consumer satisfaction, quality and safety.

The publication is a joint effort of the Directorate-General for Health and Consumers (SANCO) and EUROSTAT, the Commission's statistical office.

Read the full report at: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/strategy/facts_consumers_europe_en.htm

Background

There are now more than 490 million consumers in Europe and their expenditure represents over half of the EU’s gross domestic product (GDP). One of the strategic goals of the Commission's consumer policy is to develop and apply reliable tools to monitor markets in terms of how they perform for the European consumers. Much of the data used in the present report feeds into the Consumer Markets Scoreboard, a monitoring tool which uses five key indicators (complaints, prices, satisfaction, supplier switching and safety) to identify markets which do not work well for consumers.

Contact

Your opinion is valuable to us. If you have comments about this news item or need more information, contact Piotr Kwiecinski (Media Officer for Consumer Affairs) at Piotr.Kwiecinski@ec.europa.eu