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Analytical study for the SPD parliamentary group in the state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW)Vulnerable consumers in the neighborhood

Project period:
January 2015 – May 2015

Client:
SPD parliamentary group in the state parliament (Landtag) of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) 

In consumer policy, there is a growing understanding that the average consumer does not exist, but that rather different consumer groups need to be distinguished. Such a differentiated approach leads to the question of how precisely vulnerable consumers as a group can be better reached in the context of consumer advice.

On behalf of the SPD parliamentary group in the NRW Landtag, ConPolicy conducted a study which analyzed whether the local neighborhood approach, which comes from social and housing policies, yields potential to improve consumer advice for this target group.

In addition to a systematic literature review, telephone interviews were conducted with experts from the field of consumer advice and the neighborhood management offices. In order to derive concrete recommendations for action, a model region was also identified: the city of Duisburg. An interim version of the report was discussed in April 2015 in the NRW Landtag as part of a focus group discussion with experts and practitioners in the field of consumer advice.

The results of the study can be summarized in five theses:

  1. Vulnerable consumers suffer two-fold.
  2. Consumer policy for vulnerable consumers should have a social-political component.
  3. The current consumer advice landscape does not cater to the specific needs of vulnerable consumers.
  4. The local neighborhood approach has the potential for improved counseling of vulnerable consumers.
  5. The potential of the local neighborhood approach to improve consumer advice for vulnerable consumer groups should be tested in pilot programs.

Link to the study.

Project of

Christian Thorun

Prof. Dr. Christian Thorun Managing Director

+49 (0)30 259369-01 thorun@conpolicy.de

Max Vetter

Dr. Max Vetter Project Manager Consumer Research

+49 (0)30 259369-03 vetter@conpolicy.de