Observe, enlighten and decipher the evolution
of consumption patterns in France and abroad
Section - Crisis awareness

A general demoralisation

4 minutes of reading

Last year, the mood among Europeans was almost euphoric. In fact, they had never viewed their national situations and personal circumstances in such a positive light. The score they assigned to the former climbed back above the 5 out of 10 mark, to an average of 5.4 points, while the latter attained a record average score across the countries of 6.2 points. As is always the case, individuals rated their personal circumstances higher than the overall situation in their country. So what about 2022?

National situations and personal circumstances decline in parallel

As might have been expected, both of these scores are down, but without falling off a cliff as they had previously. At 5.8 points and 4.9 points, respectively, the numbers are back to the levels recorded at the start of the Covid-19 crisis. However, the clear and significant decline observed is as pronounced as last year’s upswing.

Examining these results in the light of the last 15 years shows that, from one crisis to the next, there is no hard and fast rule governing whether these scores will rise or fall. Thus, following the subprime crisis, which did not chiefly affect Europeans, it was several years before these two scores improved markedly, not least because it was some time before the sovereign debt crisis died down. With Covid-19, it took only a year for a dramatic upturn to occur, despite the fact that the Omicron variant was still among us.


Local factors impact a country’s image

These latest results could have prompted us to primarily blame the war in Ukraine for the darkening mood of Europeans. A close examination of the results dispels this suggestion.

The three countries that post the biggest decline in terms of perceptions of their national situation are the United Kingdom, Italy and Belgium (-1 point, -0.8 point and -0.6 point, respectively), which cannot be described as being even close to bordering Russia. Moreover, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria, which are much closer, are the only countries in which this score has improved (by 0.2 points, 0.2 points and 0.1 points, respectively). What this confirms is that local factors take precedence over global issues for this particular metric. The UK endured a particularly tumultuous summer and autumn, the latter having been marked by the sudden and unprecedented fall of the Liz Truss government. On 22 September, the Fratelli d’Italia party won the most votes in the Italian elections.
In Belgium, to say that the political situation remains complex is a vast understatement. It is also worth noting that Bulgaria, Slovakia and Hungary post the equal-lowest score (4 points). The stark inequalities at play in the first of these three nations and the very low incomes that characterise the other two both offer tangible explanations for such a low score.


Individual morale has taken a beating

When it comes to assessing personal circumstances, the differences between the countries are less striking, although again the conflict in Ukraine does not provide a full and tangible explanation. With a fall of 0.6 points, the United Kingdom has seen its population’s morale worsen significantly, which seems contrary to its fabled “keep calm and carry on” attitude, even if its score remains relatively high (6.1 points). This decline in morale is matched by the Czech Republic, which, with a mere 4.9 points, posts the second-lowest result in the survey after Hungary, the only other nation whose score is below 5 out of 10. Although Sweden, Germany and Belgium can once again be found at the top of the personal circumstances ranking, Austria’s score has dropped sharply to less than 6. Also posting a score of 6 is France, where people’s satisfaction with their personal circumstances remains relatively high.

Infographic N°1

Infographic N°2

Sub-section -1
While the 2022 Cetelem Consumer Barometer reported scores never before attained both in terms of the general situation in each country and people’s personal circumstances, it also hinted that certai
Sub-section 1
Inflation and purchasing power: europeans are taking a hit
We concluded the previous Cetelem Barometer with the following sentences. “It goes without saying that the impression that prices are rising is shared in many countries. The fact that these results