Almost half of European consumers (48%) were worried about being able to pay their bills, and a large majority (71%) took measures to reduce their energy consumption at home. In addition, the vast majority of consumers also expressed concerns about their safety online, particularly, 94% said that they were worried about online targeted advertising.
This emerged from the results of the European Commission’s 2023 Consumer Conditions Scoreboard, a survey on consumption habits in the EU Member States, as well as in Iceland and Norway. The data shows that mre than a third reported that they dipped into their savings (37%) and one in ten saw an increase in their mortgages, notably due to variable interests rates.
In response to energy price hikes, more than half of consumers report that they have changed their habits, be it to save energy at home (71%), by using public subsidies for energy efficiency measures and/or by changing their use of transport (28%).
Although the vast majority of consumers believe that they should personally do more to contribute to the green transition and tackling climate change, they were split in terms of the extent to which the environmental impact of goods and services influenced their choices: 43% declared that they were not at all influenced by environmental concerns in their purchasing decisions. There are also big variations between sectors, with cars topping the list in terms of the importance of environmental impact consumers felt when making a choice (81%). In addition, fewer consumers expressed their beliefs in the reliability of environmental claims than in 2020 (-5 pp), which could be attributed to a higher level of awareness about greenwashing.
As e-commerce sales grow year on year, consumers are increasingly exposed to frequent unfair practices online. The three most frequently reported practices were: personally targeted online advertising (76%), hidden advertising in search results (75%) and disingenuous consumer reviews (69%). With regards to online advertising in particular, 94% expressed concerns about it, with 70% worried about inappropriate use and sharing of personal data, 66% about the collection of online data and related profiling without explicit knowledge or agreement and 57% about cookies’ installation.