Granular EU: East vs. West per capita spending power development

“United in diversity” (Official motto of the European Union)

With the European Union parliamentary elections having already started in the Netherlands and the UK, we from World Data Lab continue to take some time to analyse the spending power of European countries and regions on a subnational level. Using our web tool MarketPro, which allows users to look at any country’s spending forecasts and market power in real time, we will focus on the countries where elections have already started: The Netherlands (yesterday), Ireland, and the Czech Republic (today). We will take this opportunity to combine our ongoing analyses of capital regions and our focus on the region that is growing the fastest within the European Union in terms of spending power: Eastern Europe.

As mentioned in our recent blog article, spending power capabilities per capita in Eastern Europe ranges from $10,999 (in 2011 PPP) in Bulgaria to $16,468 in Slovenia in 2019. People from the Czech Republic have $14,953 to spend per person per year, Hungarians $13,469, Polish $16,437, and Slovakians $15,056. The region is among the lowest in terms of spending power within the EU but it is expected that this region will have the highest growth rates over the next 15 years, reaching $21,089 in the Czech Republic by 2035, $19,895 in Hungary, $25,062 in Poland, and $24,145 in Slovakia. This brings these countries close to their western counterparts like Ireland, whose population will have $27,583 per capita per year by 2035 (up from $19,986 in 2019), the Netherlands with $27,251 (up from $21,053 in 2019), UK with $29,111 (up from $24,322 in 2019), or Germany, the top spender, with $30,678 (currently $24,849 in 2019).

Capitals vs. national averages in terms of spending power

Comparing the spending power capabilities of a country and the dynamics of their capital regions provides some surprising insights. Whereas Prague with $19,440 ($22,692 by 2035) and Warsaw (Mazowieckie region) with $20,479 ($26,917 by 2035) from the Eastern European region have and will have more to spend than their respective national average, Budapest (Közép-Magyarország) with $15,125 ($20,414 by 2035) and Bratislava with $14,776 ($20,636 by 2035) fall well short of their national average. The latter two capital regions have the highest average annual growth rates though, with +1.78% for Budapest and +1.98% for Bratislava, showing signs of catching up. Warsaw will grow annually by 1.62% per year, while Prague will grow rather slowly by 0.91%.

In comparison, the per capita spending power of people living in Amsterdam (Noord Holland) will grow by 1.48% from $23,148 in 2019 to $29,709 by 2035, and in Dublin (South-East region with Dublin, Cork, Kerry and Limerick) by 1.53% from $21,798 to $28,277. By 2035, Dubliners will come close to the current 2019 spending power level of their London counterparts ($28,312). London spending power is expected to grow on average by 1.13% per year to $34,285 by 2035.

The different levels of annual per capita spending power for the capital regions can also be seen in the share of the rich segment – those who can spend more than $110 per day – of the total population. Whereas this share for Bratislava and Budapest, is on the lower end in our sample, 1.4% and 2.0% respectively in 2019, and which will only gradually increase to 4.8% and 5.6% by 2035, the share of the rich in the other cities is higher: In Eastern Europe, the rich’s share in Prague is 4.4% in 2019 (increasing to 7.5% by 2035) and in Warsaw/Mazowieckie region 6.3% in 2019, but will increase to 14.7% by 2035, which is comparable to its western counterparts in our sample.

Amsterdam will increase the share of its rich segment from 8.6% in 2019 to 18.3% by 2035, Paris from 15.3% to 16.5%, and Dublin from 7.5% to 16.5%. London has a share of 20.8% in 2019 and this is forecasted to increase to 30.1% by 2035 – the major contribution coming from Inner-London-East, where the rich segment will have a share of 79.4% by 2035.

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