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European Consumer Sentiment Has Stabilized

Between last quarter and now, consumer sentiment has turned in a more positive direction, even though most consumers continued to report having mixed feelings about the economy, reveals the latest study by McKinsey´s ConsumerWise branch.

When it comes to generational gap, a greater share of younger consumers said they planned to selectively splurge compared with older consumers, and they reported an interest in treating themselves to dining out and travel. As we’ve seen for much of the past year, consumers across Europe also said they continued to trade down.

Together, these data indicate that consumers may have finally adjusted to higher-than-usual inflation, which suggests their shopping behaviors may have stabilized for the time being, reports ConsumerWise.

For the third consecutive quarter, the percentage of European consumers who reported feeling optimistic grew slightly, while the percentage of consumers who said they were pessimistic decreased slightly in the second quarter of 2024.

While consumers who reported feeling optimistic attributed their feelings to stabilizing inflation rates, consumers who felt pessimistic about the economy cited the ongoing international conflicts and the challenges posed by climate change as drivers.

Consumers in Germany and Italy reported feeling most optimistic compared with consumers surveyed in other European countries. Moreover, middle-income consumers and baby boomers have reported the highest increase in optimism.

The intent to splurge has also grown, especially among the Gen Z, who reported the highest intent out of any generation. After a drop at the beginning of the year, more consumers said they plan to splurge over the next three months compared with the previous quarter.

Among the different age groups, Gen Zers reported a higher-than-average intent to splurge, followed by millennials. When they did express an interest in splurging, Gen Xers and baby boomers said that they intended to treat themselves by dining out and traveling. Meanwhile, Gen Z consumers reported an interest in splurging on apparel compared with other age groups.

Even as they expressed the highest intent to splurge, Gen Zers and millennials, particularly in France and Spain, were also more likely to report trading down than older generations, by way of adjusting the quantity of items purchased.

Overall, in the second quarter of 2024, slightly more consumers in Europe reported optimism in the economy, which marks a clear improvement compared to the previous year.

For more information, including the McKinsey´s earlier studies on consumer sentiment, follow this link.


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