Poland has come out at the bottom of the price tables in the categories of Food & Non-alcoholic Beverages, and Consumer Electronics, in Eurostat figures released this week. The variation between the cheapest food in the EU to the most expensive is vast, with food in Denmark costing more than triple that of Poland.

image Euro coin and Zloty coin

Poland has a low cost of living

Poland also featured in the bottom three for prices in the categories of Clothing and Personal Transport Equipment. Prices were well below the EU average in the Alcoholic beverages & tobacco and Hotels and Restaurants categories.

In the overall Eurostat ranking, known as the “Price level indices for consumer goods and services, 2014” Poland is third from last, beaten to the bottom only by Romania and cheapest, Bulgaria.
The prices are at retail so include tax, thereby lower tax rates ultimately show as lower prices.

Other most-least ratings for the EU are as follows.

Category Most expensive Least expensive
Food & Non-alcoholic Beverages Denmark Poland
Alcoholic beverages & tobacco Ireland Bulgaria
Clothing Sweden Hungary
Consumer electronics Malta Poland & Czech Republic
Personal transport equipment Denmark Czech Republic
Restaurants & Hotels Denmark Bulgaria

Most of the categories are self explanatory, although it’s worth providing the definition for Personal transport equipment: “Motor cars, motor cycles and bicycles and excludes maintenance and repair of personal transport equipment, spare parts and fuel.”
Housing rental is included in the data, housing purchase is excluded.

While Eurostat no doubt know what they are doing, the cheapest consumer electronics is a curious outcome for Poland. This reporter recalls a time when it was cheaper – including flights and accommodation – for iPhone purchasers to fly to the UK for the weekend and make their Apple purchase than it was to buy in Poland.
Of course, a single item does not an index make, with the wider category including “e.g. televisions, DVD players, receivers, audio systems, MP3 players, cameras, camcorders, desktop and laptop computers, monitors, printers, scanners, software, music CDs, movie DVDs, empty CDs and DVDs”. While they don’t actually list it, we have to assume that mobile phones are included in this category.

Although the statistics are focussed exclusively on price and don’t cover other measures like quality, speed of delivery, accessibility or selection, sometimes it’s still nice to come last.

For the record, here is the full list, from most expensive to least expensive, with the addition of some non-EU neighbours (indicated with *).

Country Price level indices for consumer goods and services, 2014
Switzerland* 154
Norway* 148
Denmark 138
Sweden 125
Finland 123
United Kingdom 122
Ireland 121
Luxembourg 120
Iceland* 117
Netherlands 111
Belguim 109
France 108
Austria 107
Italy 102
Germany 102
EU 100
Spain 93
Cyprus 89
Greece 86
Slovenia 83
Malta 83
Portugal 81
Estonia 79
Latvia 72
Slovakia 69
Croatia 67
Czech Republic 64
Lithuania 64
Turkey* 61
Hungary 57
Montenegro* 57
Poland 56
Romania 54
Bosnia & Herzegovina* 53
Serbia* 53
Albania* 50
Bulgaria 48
Former Yugoslav Rep. of Macedonia* 47

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