Tobacco and alcohol in the UK had some of the highest price levels compared with other EU countries, recent analysis shows.
Price levels are the ratio of purchasing power parities (PPPs) to exchange rates. They provide a comparison of a country’s price level relative to the EU average. For example, if the UK price level index is higher than zero then the UK is relatively expensive, while if it is lower than zero, then the UK is relatively cheap compared with the EU average.
The UK’s price level for tobacco was double the EU average, closely followed by Ireland. Tobacco price levels are lowest in Bulgaria, at 49% lower than the EU average.
Tobacco price levels in the EU, relative to the average
UK alcohol price levels are also among the highest in the EU, following Finland, Ireland and Sweden. Finnish price levels are 76% higher than the EU average for alcohol.
While the UK is in the top five, the alcohol price levels are significantly lower than Ireland, where price levels are 74% above the EU average.
Alcoholic beverage price levels in the EU, relative to the average
Clothing and footwear price levels in the UK are surprisingly low
Clothing and footwear in the UK is surprisingly lower than the EU average. The UK price levels are 8.5% lower, putting it in a similar spot to Romania, Spain and Poland when it comes to this category.
Clothing and footwear price levels in the EU, relative to the average
Across most goods and services categories, the UK had higher than average price levels relative to the rest of the EU. The UK had lower price levels for food, clothing and footwear, energy (gas, electricity and other fuels), household appliances and consumer electronics.
Explore the price levels of different goods and services across the EU
UK price levels of total consumer goods and services 22% above the EU average.
Based on total consumption, price levels for consumer goods and services differed widely across EU countries in 2016, varying from 57% below the EU average in Bulgaria to 41% above it in Denmark. The UK is ranked joint fifth with price levels of 22% above the EU average, behind Denmark (41%), Luxembourg (38%), Sweden (35%) and Ireland (26%) above the average.
Of the 13 countries that have joined the EU since 2004, none have price levels that are above the EU average. Cyprus has the highest of this group of countries with price levels of 12% below the EU average.
Price levels of total goods and services consumed compared across European countries
Total Price levels, 2016