Doom and gloom: Consumers pessimistic about 2023; expect inflation, taxes, and unemployment to rise

By Thomas Brooke
4 Min Read

Consumers across the globe are pessimistic about both their country’s and their own aspirations over the forthcoming calendar year, with a majority expecting their personal financial circumstances to deteriorate, according to a recent Ipsos survey conducted across 36 countries.

The poll, commissioned by the World Economic Forum, revealed that more than half of consumers in the included nations expect inflation, interest rates, and unemployment to continue to rise, while their own standard of living and disposable income will fall in 2023.

Consumers of European nations participating in the survey include those from Hungary, Poland, Romania, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Spain, France, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Denmark.

More than 7 in 10 respondents (71 percent) expect the rate of inflation in their country to continue rising into the new year, while 67 percent and 64 percent estimate a further rise in interest rates and unemployment, respectively.

Still more than half (58 percent) of respondents believe taxes will be hiked in their country as the global economy performance wavers, with just 29 percent expecting their own standard of living to increase and 28 percent saying they will see their disposable income rise.

Poland and Hungary are the European nations with the highest levels of pessimism over the rate of inflation, with 79 percent and 77 percent, respectively, of consumers expecting the cost of living crisis to worsen before it improves.

Similarly, both countries, in addition to Romania, make up the top three nations concerned about unemployment. Hungary (74 percent), Romania (74 percent), and Poland (69 percent) are all well above the global average of those believing unemployment will rise in 2023.

Romania, France, and Spain top the European countries where consumers believe their tax liability will rise next year, with a staggering 85 percent of Romanians believing taxes in their country will rise, compared with 66 percent and 63 percent in France and Spain, respectively.

Meanwhile, European nations make up 9 of the 10 most pessimistic consumers with regards to their own standards of living. While Japan languishes at the bottom of the table with just 8 percent confident of an increase in their personal circumstances in 2023, Italy (14 percent); Spain, the Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, and Hungary (16 percent); the U.K. (17 percent); and France and Denmark (18 percent) make up the bottom 10.

Similarly, just 13 percent of Italians and 15 percent of Spaniards and Brits believe their disposable income will increase next year.

The majority of those concerned with the cost of living crisis expect the prices of utilities, food, and other household items will increase, while mortgages, rent, and costs of socializing are less of a concern.

Almost three-quarters of consumers (74 percent) blame the state of the global economy for their pessimistic outlook, while 70 percent attribute rising prices to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its consequences. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) accuse businesses of making excessive profits at consumers’ expense, 61 percent blame the Covid-19 pandemic, while half believe that immigration into their country is a cause for concern.

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