The ability to spend more is implicitly conditioned by one’s resources. In this respect, the way Europeans in general feel about their spending power displays a certain degree of consistency.
« Our economic situation is quite gloomy. We can afford to live, but without really splashing out. Our children have become used to having only what they need and our budget is tight. I would say that our spending power is gradually falling. »
While half of the respondents express a desire to consume more, just as many deem that their spending power has remained unchanged. One-third say that it has dropped and just under one-fifth state that it has increased.
In this regard, the French are the most pessimistic. One in two believes that their spending power has fallen. It is worth pointing out that this represents a 7-point drop compared to 2015.
However, this belief is not borne out by the facts, given that spending power in France rose for the fifth consecutive year in 2016, by around 1.5 points.
The economic reality therefore does not appear to have a positive effect on the French population’s assessment of their economic situation. Across the border, the Belgians seem just as pessimistic as the French (49% believe their spending power has decreased). Have the terrorist attacks in the two countries had an impact on these figures? It may well have done. At the other end of the scale, the Danes and the Poles, along with the Slovaks, are the most likely to believe that their spending power has grown (25% and 26%), with a significant increase in the number of people in these countries expressing their satisfaction (+7 and +6 points).
Note that 71% of Europeans consider that prices went up in 2016. This negative view goes a long way to explaining their doubts regarding the rise in their spending power, despite generally low inflation.
« I believe we have entered a vicious circle, where more and more money is debited from our accounts for all sorts of reasons. That harms the spending power of people with low and moderate incomes, who gradually fall into poverty. What’s more, it appears that these debits don’t always go to their intended recipient. »