Culture statistics - household expenditure on culture
Data extracted in January 2019.
No planned article update in the near future. Results of the next HBS wave 2020 should be available in 2022.
Around 3 % of consumption expenditure by EU households in 2015 was devoted to culture-related goods and services.
In 2015, EU households spent 28.5 % of their total cultural expenditure on IT, sound and vision equipment and 25.0 % on books and newspapers.
Prices for newspapers and periodicals in the EU increased by just over one third between 2010 and 2018, while prices for IT equipment decreased by more than 40 %.
Mean household expenditure on cultural goods and services as a share of total household expenditure, 2015
This article forms part of an online publication Culture statistics — 2019 edition. It provides an overview of key figures concerning household consumption expenditure on culture-related goods and services and information on price developments for cultural goods and services. The data for the former are collected through the household budget survey (HBS), while statistics on price developments are part of the data collection exercise for harmonised indices of consumer prices (HICPs). Together, these two sources of information permit a better understanding of patterns of expenditure for the consumption of culture.
Household cultural expenditure
Nearly 3 % of household consumption expenditure in the EU was devoted to cultural goods and services
The latest HBS data for 2015 indicate that, on average, households in the European Union (EU) spent an estimated 2.9 % of their total expenditure on cultural goods and services (see Figure 1); note that data are not available for Denmark and France and that these two countries are systematically excluded from the analyses that follow.
The share of cultural goods and services in total household consumption expenditure varied considerably across the EU Member States. Several factors may impact on these shares, among which, household income, price levels, the ease of access to cultural venues, and cultural habits. In 2015, the share of cultural goods and services in household consumption expenditure peaked at 5.0 % in Sweden, while an additional eight Member States recorded shares above the EU-28 average. Four Member States had the same share (2.9 %) as the EU average, while a majority of the remaining 13 Member States recorded shares within the range of 1.9-2.8 %; the proportion of household expenditure devoted to cultural goods and services was somewhat lower in Cyprus (1.7 %) and Bulgaria (1.6 %).
Figure 1 also shows the average level of household expenditure on cultural goods and services, measured in purchasing power standards (PPS), an artificial currency unit that takes account of the price level differences between EU Member States. In 2015, Sweden, Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg and Ireland had the highest levels of expenditure on cultural goods and services, with their households spending, on average, more than 1 000 PPS. At the other end of the scale, average household expenditure was less than 400 PPS in Hungary (360 PPS), Romania (212 PPS) and Bulgaria (206 PPS).
EU household expenditure on cultural goods and services was greatly influenced by levels of income
Figure 2 shows that average household expenditure on cultural goods and services rose as a function of income. In 2015, mean expenditure of EU households in the fifth income quintile was 1 659 PPS, while the average level of expenditure for households in the first income quintile was 473 PPS; as such households in the fifth income quintile spent, on average, 3.5 times as much on cultural goods and services as households in the first income quintile.
In 2015, the average level of expenditure on cultural goods and services among Cypriot households in the fifth income quintile was 9.4 times as high as that recorded for households in the first income quintile; Lithuania and Portugal had the next highest ratios, with expenditure among households in the fifth income quintile more than seven times as high as that for households in the first income quintile. At the other end of the range, in Sweden, Slovakia, Romania and Slovenia, the level of expenditure on cultural goods and services among households in the fifth income quintile was 2.0-2.5 times as high as that for households in the first income quintile. The biggest difference in the average level of expenditure on cultural goods and services was generally observed between households in the fourth and fifth income quintiles, although in Belgium and Malta there was a larger increase in the level of expenditure between the third and fourth income quintiles.
Box 1: the classification of individual consumption by purpose — defining cultural goods and services
For household expenditure, the aggregate covering cultural goods and services is defined in terms of the classification of individual consumption by purpose (COICOP) and comprises 14 different items that may be grouped into the following five broad categories of cultural expenditure:
- equipment (IT equipment and equipment for the reception, reproduction and recording of vision and sound and recording media (CDs, DVDs, and so on));
- fees and subscriptions (this category covers fixed taxes and diverse fees and subscriptions to commercial broadcasters, including TV on demand, cable and paid TV and various streaming services allowing the reception of audio and video content, and also includes the hire of equipment and accessories for culture);
- books and newspapers;
- going out and entertainment (cinemas, theatres, museums, libraries, concerts and services of photographers and performing artists); and
- articles for artistic expression and creation (including cameras, video cameras, musical instruments, stationery and drawing materials).
EU households devoted an average of 29 % of their cultural expenditure to culture-related equipment and 25 % to books and newspapers
In 2015, households in the EU spent, on average, some 28.5 % of their total cultural expenditure on equipment, 25.0 % on books and newspapers, 19.7 % on fees and subscriptions, and 15.3 % on going out and entertainment, leaving 11.5 % for articles of artistic expression and creation (see Figure 3).
A more detailed analysis of the same information is presented in Figure 4, which includes information for all 14 cultural items included in the aggregate for cultural goods and services. At this level of detail, the highest share of household cultural expenditure across the EU in 2015 was for television and radio fees, hire of equipment and accessories for culture (19.7 %), while there were four additional items that accounted for a double-digit share: information processing equipment (14.6 %), newspapers and periodicals (13.3 %), books (11.7 %), and cinemas, theatres and concerts (10.6 %).
Figure 5 provides an analysis of household expenditure on cultural goods and services for the five broad categories among EU Member States. In 2015, there were 11 Member States where the highest share of expenditure on cultural goods and services was directed towards spending on equipment; this share of equipment peaked in Sweden, at 42.0 %. There were nine Member States where the highest share of expenditure on cultural goods and services was accounted for by fees and subscriptions, with this share peaking in Romania (60.3 %). Books and newspapers accounted for the highest proportion of cultural expenditure in five Member States, with their highest share recorded in Portugal (38.7 %). Spain was the only Member State to report that its highest share of expenditure on cultural goods and services was accounted for by going out and entertainment (27.6 %). On average, one fifth (20.0 %) of household expenditure on cultural goods and services in Poland was devoted to articles for artistic expression and creation — the highest share among the Member States for this broad category — although there were three other broad categories of cultural goods and services with higher shares in Poland.
A more detailed picture of average household expenditure on cultural goods and services is presented in Table 1. It shows the diverse nature of cultural expenditure across the EU Member States in 2015 for each of the 14 items identified. For example, 60.3 % of all spending on cultural goods and services in Romania was directed towards fees and subscriptions, compared with only 3.1 % in Cyprus and 4.4 % in the Netherlands. This pattern — whereby the difference between the highest and lowest shares of cultural expenditure was very large — was observed for many of the items: for more than half of the 14 items shown in Table 1 the ratio between the highest and lowest shares was at least 10 : 1.
The highest share of cultural expenditure on newspapers and periodicals in 2015 was recorded in Finland (30.4 %). Sweden had the highest share of cultural expenditure on information processing equipment (28.1 %), while more than one quarter (26.9 %) of all cultural expenditure in Portugal was directed towards books. Hungary had the highest share of cultural expenditure on cinemas, theatres and concerts (23.5 %), Lithuania for the reception, recording and reproduction of sound and vision (17.6 %), Spain for the services of photographers and performing artists (12.4 %) and Poland for musical instruments (10.9 %). None of the remaining items recorded a share of cultural expenditure that was over 10 % in any of the EU Member States.
Harmonised indices of consumer prices
Harmonised indices of consumer prices (HICPs) measure changes over time in the price of consumer goods and services; these indices provide a measure of inflation within the EU. Note that, unlike the data for the EU in the earlier part of this article (based on HBS data), the HICP data are not presented for the EU-28, but for an aggregate that reflects the changing membership of the EU over time. Figure 6 shows six cultural items for which HICPs are available for the EU for the period 2010 to 2018. Four main patterns of development may be observed:
- the price of information processing equipment and the price of equipment for the reception, recording and reproduction of sound and vision (including TV sets, CD players, stereo systems, radios and so on) fell at a rapid pace;
- the price of recording media (including records, CDs, DVDs, tapes, cassettes and so on) fell at a modest pace through to 2016 and then stabilised;
- the price of books and the price of cultural services (including cinemas, theatres, concerts, museums, libraries, zoological gardens, television and radio fees, hiring of equipment and accessories for culture and other cultural services) rose at a modest pace, following closely the developments observed for the all-items price index;
- the price of newspapers and periodicals increased at a much faster pace, with uninterrupted year-on-year price increases.
Between 2010 and 2018 there was a considerable increase (up 34 %) in the prices of newspapers and periodicals in the EU and an even larger fall (down 41 %) in the prices of information processing equipment
Between 2010 and 2018, the EU inflation rate was relatively subdued: the annual average growth rate (AAGR) of the all-items HICP was 1.4 % per year during the period under consideration, with year-on-year increases recorded in every year except for 2015 (when prices were stable).
During the same period, the price of newspapers and periodicals in the EU rose by an average of 3.7 % per year, which was more than twice as fast as for any of the other cultural goods or services shown in Figure 6. The next highest price increases were recorded for cultural services, (up 1.7 % on average per year between 2010 and 2018), while the price of books increased by an average of 1.1 % per year. By contrast, the price of information processing equipment in the EU fell at a rapid pace between 2010 and 2018 (falling on average by 6.3 % per year), with the price of reception, recording and reproduction of sound and vision equipment also falling at a fast pace (down 5.9 % per year); there was also a reduction in the price of recording media, although at a much more modest pace (down 0.9 % per year).
A more detailed analysis of harmonised indices of consumer prices is presented in Table 2; it shows how the prices of selected cultural goods and services have developed from 2010 (when the index was = 100) to 2015 and then to 2018. Inflation in the EU — as measured by the all-items HICP — increased, on average, by 1.4 % per year between 2010 and 2018. The fastest average price increases among the EU Member States were recorded in Estonia (2.6 % per year), while the slowest price increases were recorded in Greece (0.3 % per year on average).
During the period from 2010 to 2018, the price of newspapers and periodicals rose in each of the EU Member States, with the exception of Cyprus. The highest price increases were recorded in Malta and Lithuania, with average increases of 8.2 % and 6.9 % per year, while prices fell on average by 0.6 % per year in Cyprus.
The price of cultural services in the EU rose, on average, by 1.7 % per year between 2010 and 2018. Prices in Estonia rose at a much faster average pace (6.2 % per year) than in any of the other EU Member States. There were three Member States where the price of cultural services fell — the reductions were modest in Greece and Bulgaria, while the largest price falls were recorded in Romania (-1.5 % per year on average).
As for cultural services, Estonia recorded the fastest rate of increasing prices for books. Between 2010 and 2018 the price of books in Estonia rose, on average, by 5.7 % per year (which was more than five times as high as the EU average; 1.1 % per year). There were seven Member States that reported falling prices for books: in six of these, prices fell by no more than 1.2 % per year, while in Hungary the price of books fell, on average, by 5.0 % per year).
The price of three remaining cultural goods and services that are shown in Table 2 fell within the EU between 2010 and 2018. This pattern was repeated among each of the EU Member States both for equipment for the reception, recording and reproduction of sound and picture and for information processing equipment, while there were four Member States where the price of recording media increased during the period under consideration. Prices fell at their most rapid pace for recording media and for information processing equipment in Ireland (down on average 6.2 % and 19.5 % per year respectively), and for equipment for the reception, recording and reproduction of sound and picture in Sweden (down 10.7 % per year on average).
Source data for tables and graphs
Data sources and methodology
Household consumption expenditure on cultural goods and services reflects the level of cultural participation and may be influenced by a range of factors, including: household composition, age, wealth/income, the availability of cultural facilities and price structures. Data on household consumption expenditure are available in national currencies, euros and PPS; the latter are used to eliminate price level differences between countries (the use of data in PPS terms ensures that information is valued at a uniform price level and thus reflects only volume differences in the economy, as opposed to price level differences).
Data are collected using national surveys in each participating country. The collection process involves a combination of one or more interviews and diaries or logs maintained by households and/or individuals, generally on a daily basis (recording their consumption over time). The HBS is carried out approximately every five years, with the most recent survey being conducted in 2015 and the next wave foreseen for 2020. In the 2015 survey, the geographical coverage of the survey was extended to cover all 28 of the EU Member States; however, information for France and Denmark were not available at the time of writing for the 2015 reference year.
The classification of individual consumption by purpose (COICOP) is a classification developed by the United Nations Statistics Division to classify and analyse individual consumption expenditures incurred by households, non-profit institutions serving households and general government according to their purpose. The European version of this classification — ECOICOP — is extended to 5-digits in order to respond better to the need for more detailed data on household budgets and consumer price indices.
Data on household expenditure can be used to analyse expenditure patterns of specific types of household or expenditure patterns for particular groups of goods and services (such as cultural items, as covered in this article). This information is mainly used at an EU level in the context of policy on consumer protection. HBS statistics have also been used in conjunction with HICPs to develop a consumer market scoreboard that tracks how markets in various sectors of the economy have been performing from a consumer’s perspective.
The HICP provides a comparable measure of inflation for EU Member States and for various products and services. These indices are economic indicators that measure changes over time for prices of consumer goods and services acquired by households. In other words, they are a set of consumer price indices calculated according to a harmonised approach and a set of definitions as laid down in EU law. Starting with the release of January 2016 data, HICP data are produced and published using the common index reference period (2015 = 100).
The household budget survey and harmonised indices of consumer prices both use the COICOP classification. Culture-related goods and services within COICOP cover cultural goods such as books and newspapers, the manufacture of various articles that enable artistic creation (for example, musical instruments, photo and video cameras, or drawing materials) or the equipment that allows various forms of culture to be consumed (TV and stereo equipment, information and communication technologies (ICTs), as well as the actual media on which some cultural products can be delivered (CDs, DVDs or blu-rays).
In an ESSnet-Culture final report (2012), the following COICOP items were identified as relating to culture (for the consumption expenditure of households):
- newspapers and periodicals;
- cinemas, theatres and concerts;
- museum, libraries and zoological gardens;
- musical instruments;
- photographic and cinematographic equipment;
- stationery and drawing materials;
- services of photographers and performing artists;
- television and radio fees, hire of equipment and accessories for culture;
- information processing equipment;
- reception, recording and reproduction of sound and vision;
- recording media;
- reception, recording and reproduction of sound;
- repair of audio-visual, photographic and information processing equipment.
In a similar vein, culture-related HICPs were identified for the following items:
- newspapers and periodicals;
- reception, recording and reproduction of sound and vision;
- recording media;
- information processing equipment;
- cultural services.
Culture is one of Europe’s greatest assets: it is a source of values, identity and a sense of belonging; it also contributes towards well-being, social cohesion and inclusion. The cultural and creative sectors may also provide a stimulus for economic growth, job creation and international trade.
That is why culture is becoming increasingly important within the EU. In accordance with Article 167 of the Lisbon Treaty, the EU shall contribute to the flowering of the cultures of the Member States, while respecting their national and regional diversity and at the same time bringing the common heritage to the fore.
The EU supports these objectives through the Creative Europe programme, as well as a number of policy actions set out in the Work Plan for Culture (2015-2018) and the Work Plan for Culture (2019-2022). The latter, adopted by EU culture ministers in November 2018, sets out the main priorities for European cooperation in cultural policymaking: sustainability in cultural heritage; cohesion and well-being; an ecosystem supporting artists, cultural and creative professionals and European content; gender equality; and international cultural relations.
The production of reliable, comparable and up-to-date cultural statistics, which provide a basis for sound cultural policymaking, is a cross-sectorial priority in the latest work plan. Eurostat compiles culture statistics from several different data collections to provide policymakers and other users with information on the main developments in the field of culture, covering issues such as education, employment, business, international trade, participation and consumption patterns.
- Culture (all Statistics Explained articles on culture)
- Culture (cult)
- Private households expenditure on culture (cult_exp)
- Mean consumption expenditure of private households on cultural goods and services by COICOP consumption purpose (cult_pcs_hbs)
- Mean consumption expenditure of private households on cultural goods and services by income quintile (cult_pcs_qnt)
- HICP (2015 = 100) - annual data (average index and rate of change) (prc_hicp_aind)
- Private households expenditure on culture (cult_exp)
- European statistical system network on culture (ESSnet-Culture final report (2012))
- Private households expenditure on culture (ESMS metadata file — cult_exp_esms)
- Consumption expenditure of private households (ESMS metadata file — hbs_esms)
- Harmonised index of consumer prices (HICP) (ESMS metadata file — prc_hicp_esms)
- European Council Work Plan for Culture (2019-2022)
- European Council Work Plan for Culture (2015-2018)
- Regulation (EU) No 1295/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing the Creative Europe programme (2014-2020)
- Summaries of EU legislation: Creative Europe Programme (2014 to 2020)
- HICPs: Council Regulation (EC) No 2494/95 concerning harmonised indices of consumer prices and other legislation.