Fabian Demicoli

EC Consumer Market Monitoring Survey 2011

On the 27th of January DG SANCO published the EU Consumer Market Monitoring Survey 2011. The survey was carried out by the market research company GfK Group in spring 2011 and covers both food and non-food within the goods markets and both regular services and one-off services.

 

The aim of the survey is to assess consumer experiences and the perceived conditions of 51 consumer markets, out of which 21 are classified as goods markets and 30 as service markets. The survey is intended to provide information for the Consumer Market Scoreboard and help the Commission to identify markets that are perceived and experienced as not delivering the desired outcomes for consumers with purchasing experience.

According to the survey the performance of both the goods markets and the services markets is nearly identical to the results in the 2010 survey; citizens perceive and experience the functioning of the services and goods markets similar to the previous year. In general, the services markets are performing less well than the goods markets. However, there are indications that the difference in the performance between the services and the goods markets is decreasing but this needs to be confirmed in future surveys.

The survey shows that just over half of the EU citizens find it easy to compare products or services. This is a slight increase compared to 2010 and is mainly due to an improved perception of comparability in the goods markets. It is concluded that further work is needed to make it easier for consumers to compare products or services in a simple, objective and reliable way.

The survey reveals that consumers' trust is still a problem as it obtains the lowest score of all components. However, the work on increasing consumers' trust is efficient as the scores on trust are slightly increasing.

According to the survey the majority of consumers do indicate to have received the services or products as they desired and just over 10% of consumers experience a problem with a service or product or a supplier/retailer. The goods markets are scoring better than the services markets as fewer problems are encountered in the goods markets. Of the consumers who do experience a problem, almost 20% do not complain although they feel that they have a legitimate reason to complain. The survey concludes that the most likely reason for consumers not to complain is due to the fact that the problem is not that important or of only small value.

The full report can be found at:

http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/strategy/docs/EC_Market_Monitoring_2011_en.pdf

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