Overview of the European consumer credit market in 2014

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1 Overview of the European consumer credit market in 2014 For the 8th consecutive year, Crédit Agricole Consumer Finance is publishing its annual review of the European consumer credit market. 15 th July

2 General overview Stabilisation of outstanding consumer credit in the European Union Outstanding consumer credit more or less stabilised in Europe, after five years of falls. At end-2014, outstandings were 1,069 billion, showing a small decline (0.3%) over the year. Outstandings per inhabitant and the ratio of consumer credit to final household consumption (which measures the penetration rate of consumer credit) help identify three groups of countries: Northern European countries (United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden) and Germany, where outstandings per head are the highest in the European Union at over 2,500. The countries of central and eastern Europe, where outstandings per head are the lowest, at below 1,000. The countries of continental Europe (Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Austria) and southern Europe (Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal) have figures per head of between 1,000 and 2,500. Outstanding consumer credit in the European Union, Currencies converted at the average 2014 exchange rate ,9% ,9% ,5% -0,6% -0,8% ,3% These figures are subject to changes from one year to the next, due to revisions made by central banks and changes in exchange rates. Page2

3 General overview Fall in outstandings in a sluggish and uncertain economic climate In 2014, more than half of the countries of the European Union (16 of 28) saw a fall in outstanding consumer credit. Those countries that have seen significant structural adjustments, following the sovereign debt crisis, are in a period of deleveraging and are naturally seeing outstandings decline (as in Spain, Italy, Greece, Ireland and Cyprus) or stagnate (Portugal). The sharpest fall came in the Netherlands, where outstandings fell by 17%. This fall came alongside a fall in consumption for the 3rd consecutive year. The biggest growth came in Luxembourg, with 16%. In France, outstandings increased by 1%. 16% 2014 trends in consumer credit by EU country 8% 4% 4% 3% 3% 2% 2% 1% 0% 0% 0%-1%-1% -2%-3%-3%-5%-5% -6% -7%-7%-8%-8%-8% -9% -16%-17% Page 3

4 Focus by region Southern Europe Consumer credit structurally under-developed in southern European countries Spain, Italy and Portugal account for 12% of total outstandings in Europe. Outstandings per inhabitant are below the European Union average of 2,100: 1,700 in Italy, 1,300 in Spain and 1,200 in Portugal. In 2014, outstanding credit fell by 7% in Spain (where it has been falling since 2009), 3% in Italy (since 2011) and was stable in Portugal after 4 years of falls. Economic prospects (the unemployment rate is still 24% in Spain and 14% in Portugal) have had a significant influence on the trend in outstandings. Outstanding consumer credit Southern Europe Italie Espagne Portugal In Italy, difficult economic conditions also limited the growth in outstandings. The country experienced its third consecutive year of recession, with gross domestic product falling by 0.4% over The unemployment rate has risen from 12.5% to 12.7% and consumer spending has stagnated. At the same time, the household savings rate in these countries remains high: 10% of household income in Portugal and Spain and 12% in Italy Page 4

5 Focus by region Northern Europe Northern Europe, the engine of consumer credit Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden represent 3% of Europe s total population, but 5% of outstanding consumer credit. In Norway, Denmark and Finland, outstandings per inhabitant are above the European average: 5,500 in Norway (the highest in Europe), 3,300 in Denmark (3rd) and 2,500 in Finland (7th). Sweden is slightly below the European average, with outstandings per head of 2,000. However, penetration of consumer credit varies from country to country. Use of consumer credit has developed rapidly in Norway, thanks mainly to the continual increase in living standards. Consumer credit penetration is in line with the European average in Finland, whilst it is slightly under-developed in Sweden. This difference is due to the high savings rate of Swedish households (16% in 2014). In Denmark, outstandings fell by 1% in 2014, following a deleveraging trend that began in Outstanding consumer credit Northern Europe Finlande Danemark Suède Norvège Ratios of outstandings to consumption show a similar pattern: high in Norway (19%) and Denmark (15%), and slightly above the European average in Finland (13%). In Sweden, outstandings represent only 10% of final household consumption Page 5

6 Country Focus France In France, outstandings have ceased their decline With outstandings of 2,244 per head, a ratio of outstandings to consumption of 13% and a ratio of outstandings to gross disposable income of 11%, France is right on the European average. In 2014, after 3 years of falls, consumer credit outstandings stabilised, posting growth of 1% to 148 billion. However, consumer spending growth remained sluggish at 0.4%. Production remains more than 20% below its record levels of This increase in outstandings in 2014 in France was partly due to a recovery in unallocated personal loans, but particularly to the good performance of car finance (new and second-hand): two-thirds of allocated loans were for car purchases. Revolving credit continued to shrink (falling 1.8% according to the Association des Sociétés Financières), whilst rent-to-buy lending saw strong growth (16% according to the Association des Sociétés Financières). Outstanding consumer credit France The profitability of the sector as a whole is under pressure, with interest rate ceilings having fallen continuously and significantly since 2011, particularly for loans of over 3,000. Page 6

7 Country Focus Germany In Germany, credit penetration has fallen since 2009 In 2014, repayments rose by 2% in Germany and household consumption increased by 1%. A minimum wage of 8.50 gross per hour was introduced on 1, January At the same time, the savings rate (the 2nd highest in the EU after Sweden) has been falling since 2008 (from 10.5% to 9.2%). All these factors, coupled with the low unemployment rate (4.9% at end-2014) did not result in an increase in outstanding consumer credit, which was virtually unchanged compared to Outstandings stood at 222 billion at end In general terms, the German market is mature, with a level of outstandings and a ratio of credit to consumption that are both fairly stable. Since 2011, the share of repayable credit has increased, rising from 144 billion to 150 billion*. Outstandings per inhabitant were 2,754 in Outstanding consumer credit Germany This said, the penetration of consumer credit has fallen since 2009, with a ratio of outstandings to consumption dropping from 17% to 14% in This penetration is structurally limited by the overdraft facilities offered by German banks. * Source: Deutsche Bundesbank Page 7

8 Country Focus UK The United Kingdom: Europe s biggest consumer credit market With 286 billion in outstandings at end-2014, the United Kingdom is Europe s biggest consumer credit market. In 2014, consumer credit saw its third consecutive year of growth: 2% in 2012, 5% in 2013 and 4% in Outstanding consumer credit represented 20% of household disposable income and 21% of consumption. Outstandings per inhabitant were 4,446 in 2014, making the UK the 2nd largest user of consumer credits in Europe (behind Norway). The high penetration rate of consumer credit is due in particular to the low average unemployment rate (7% between 2008 and 2014) and household wealth (gross disposable income is 22,000 per capita, against an average of 17,235 in Europe). Outstanding consumer credit United Kingdom Page 8

9 Morocco: the largest market in North Africa Consumer credit in Europe 2014 Morocco a dynamic market The largest market in North Africa, with outstandings of 8.1 billion at end-2014, Morocco has a high credit penetration rate, with a ratio of outstandings to consumption of 17%. The ratio of outstandings to gross disposable income is 10%. After continuous growth from 2007, outstandings declined slightly in 2014, dropping 2%. This fall was due to a less dynamic economy in GDP growth of 4.4% in 2013 was halved to 2.2% in Consumer spending also grew more slowly (2.8% in 2014, from 5.4% a year earlier). The unemployment rate rose from 9.1% in 2013 to 9.6% in Outstanding consumer credit Morocco 9,0 8,0 7,0 6,0 5,0 4,0 Page 9

10 Future trends in the consumer credit sector in France Consumer credit as a source of economic and social leverage Consumer credit is an important source of economic leverage. In France, it represented 7.3% of GDP in It allows consumers to make purchases at a specific moment, as a function of their needs and their disposable income. Consumer credit usage rates By type of spending, as % of French households One French household in every four (25.6%) had a consumer credit product in 2014, with total outstandings of billion. Amongst these households: More than 50% had credit relating to the acquisition of a car or motorbike; 25% had credit to help equip their homes; More than 10% used credit to finance improvement works on their homes; 10% used credit to cover their current consumption spending. Page 10

11 Future trends in the consumer credit sector in France What are the consequences of the sharing economy? Digital technologies are causing deep-seated changes in consumer behaviour. A new model of consumption, where use is more important than ownership, has emerged over recent years. According to an IFOP study in April 2014, 75% of people in France are involved in the collaborative economy, often without even realising it. Access to goods through rental, sharing, or buying second-hand has developed thanks to the internet and the platforms it makes available. Consumers are turning more naturally to rental options, allowing them to manage budgets more adroitly. Rentto-Buy solutions have thus seen strong growth in France (16% in 2014, according to the Association des Sociétés Financières) against a background of an overall decline in consumer credit. Those households which choose to buy are making more regular use of second-hand markets. In France in 2014, financing for the purchase of a second-hand vehicle grew by 5.4% (according to the Association des Sociétés Financières). This new trend in purchasing patterns has led lending establishments, particularly in the automotive market, to develop specific offerings. Households generate revenue on purchases of durable goods by renting them out. This rental generates additional revenue which can help drive a more regular renewal of goods and more frequent use of credit financing solutions. The sharing economy is driving lenders to develop new offerings and new expertise: analysis of new consumer trends and consumer expectations, development of simple and effective communication about their offerings, control of on-line subscription technologies. Page 11

12 Future trends in the consumer credit sector in France The digital transformation The digitalisation of French consumers in figures Internet access for European households was close to 80% in 2014 (source: Observatoire du numérique, Internet Access Report, 2014); 61% of people in France owned a smartphone in This figure was 39% in 2012 (source: Deloitte 2014); The percentage of French people owning a tablet has risen from 15% in 2012 to 46% in 2014 (source: Deloitte 2014); 59% of people in France made an on-line purchase in 2013 (source: Eurocast 2013). Between 2012 and 2013 internet transactions increased by 17.5% (source: Fevad 2014). 87% of purchasers made internet orders (source: Fevad / QualiQuanti September 2013). Faced with these changing behaviours, consumer credit companies are re-inventing their offerings and their support Development of the dematerialisation of the client pathway, including most notably electronic signatures. CA-CF has used this solution on one of his major partner websites, a first in the French consumer credit market. A more fluid approach to client communication and client satisfaction: bespoke support and proposal of suitable financing solutions. In this area CA-CF has developed a click-to-chat solution to support clients navigating its website. Creating more competitive offerings meeting consumer expectations, notably through rental solutions. With one of its main partners, CA-CF has developed Le Pass Location, a rent-to-buy offering allowing clients to have a smartphone for less than 30 per month. Page 12

13 Methodology Data for outstanding consumer credit included in this report are provided by central banks or national statistical services. They were collected for CA Consumer Finance by the research and consultancy company Asterès, which committed to using homogenous product samples and markets: Data covers banking and non-banking establishments (i.e. all lending establishments). They include (to the extent allowed by source data) bank overdrafts, but exclude mortgage lending, even for the purposes of financing current consumption. To enable a comparison between markets, data have been converted to euros, at the average exchange rate for This element explains some of the significant variation in outstandings from one year to another. As all historic data is converted at the same exchange rate, growth rates reflect the market in question and are not affected by exchange rate fluctuations. The data set out in this report should be considered as estimates, the complete accuracy of which can not be guaranteed. The quality of statistics produced by the primary source (frequently central banks) is variable. Coverage of the sample of non-banking lenders is not consistent. Lastly, these statistics are frequently revised. Page 13

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