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.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|
|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|
|Bosnia & Herzegovina*||53|
|Former Yugoslav Rep. of Macedonia*||47|