European Commission publishes report on consumer conditions in the Single Market

Today the European Commission published its 8th Consumer Markets Scoreboard. According to the report banking, telecom and energy services score particularly low. Markets for investment products, mortgages and real estate services stay at rock bottom for the third year in a row. Goods markets appear to do better in living up to customers’ expectations.

The Scoreboard is an annual report that ranks the performance of 51 consumer markets based on consumers’ trust in business, comparability of offers, overall satisfaction and the incidence of complaints and problems. Consumer choice, switching of tariffs/providers and price differences between countries are also monitored.

Key findings of the Scoreboard are:

  • Banking services remain the worst performing group of markets from a consumer perspective. Consumer struggle to compare the different fees and conditions offered and find it difficult to choose the best deal, or to subsequently switch providers.
  • While the number of problems in the telecom market has dropped considerably compared with 2011, it still remains the highest of all market groups. At the same time, the markets for TV subscriptions and internet provision register the highest increase in score compared with 2011.
  • Energy markets have particularly poor scores on choice, comparability and switching suppliers and tariffs, suggesting that consumers are not in a position to make full use of the opportunities created by market liberalisation.
  • The market for second-hand cars ranks at the bottom of goods markets for the third consecutive year, with the lowest scores on trust, comparability and highest incidences of problems.

The Commission has announced to launch two in-depth studies. The first will focus on the market of second-hand cars. The second will analyse the issue of consumer vulnerability, to develop a methodology for studying the mechanisms of vulnerability across different consumer markets and identifying effective policy responses.

Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner Tonio Borg said: “Consumer expenditure accounts for 56% of overall European GDP. Markets where consumers are confused, misled, find it hard to switch or have little choice will be less competitive, at a cost to consumers and the economy as a whole. The Scoreboard remains an EU-wide indicator of consumers conditions in the Single Market and I call on national authorities and businesses stakeholders to keep tabs on underperforming markets and take action to improve the situation.”


Further information:

Source: European Commission