Synthesis 2015 > Spain

Spain 2015

Despite the fact the Spanish economy is re-starting, with a growth of 1.4% last year and an expected growth of 2.9% for this year, Spanish people remain traumatised by the impact of the crisis and the sacrifices they were asked to make. Their feeling of vulnerability remains high, so as their feeling of social decline. In this context, the rise of new collaborative consumption practices appears as an answer to the economic crisis and as a vector of a much-needed solidarity.

In Spain, the feeling of vulnerability remains high but is much lower than in 2012

Despite the fact the Spanish economy is showing encouraging signs, a majority of Spanish people feel more at risk than 5 years ago to experience financial difficulties (62% compared to 59% for the European average) or to be plunged into a precarious situation (57% compared to 53%). Almost one in two also feels more at risk to lose their job (48% compared to 44%) and even to experience family-related difficulties (39% compared to 35%).

Although these levels of concern remain high (and slightly higher than the European average), they are much lower than what was witnessed in 2013: -12 points regarding the risk of financial difficulties, -16 points regarding the risk of being plunged into a precarious situation and -20 points when it comes to the risk of unemployment.

Despite this sharp decline in the level of concerns, the fear of unemployment remains strong in Spain, the European country where the unemployment rate is the highest after Greece. In Spain, 42% of the respondents (compared to 29% on average) indeed cite this risk among the three they find the most worrying, however far behind health risks –including the loss of autonomy- (67% compared to 66% on average). Whereas unemployment ranks 4th for the European average (after health risks, financial risks and road risks), in Spain this risk ranks 2nd.

Moreover, a relative majority still consider they are less well protected against these risks than 5 years ago (46% compared to 41% on average), which is however slightly better than in 2012 (49% found they were less well protected).

An ambivalent attitude towards risk-taking in Spain: dangerous but unavoidable

Spanish people are clearly traumatised by the economic crisis they went through: 51% feel today that their social situation is worse than their parents’ when they were their age (+3 points compared to 2013).
Spanish are moreover the Europeans who consider the most that risk is a danger to be avoided (75% compared to 60% on average). Only 25% (compared to 40% on average) consider it rather as something exciting.

However, a majority of Spanish still consider that to be successful, it’s better to take a lot of risks (56% compared to 48% on average). Only 44% (compared to 52% on average) think on the contrary that it is better to be careful and not take too many risks.
Spanish people also remain slightly more convinced than the average that risk-taking is promoted in their country (48%, the largest rate for Europe).
In Spain, risk-taking has proven to be dangerous, but still appears as unavoidable in order to succeed.

A spectacular rise of collaborative consumption in Spain

After France, Spain is the country where the rise of collaborative consumption has been most spectacular: 79% of the Spanish population (compared to 64% on average) have witnessed the rise of these new collaborative practices (renting, lending, exchanging knowledge between private individuals, car-sharing, exchanging homes…).

For the last 5 years, Spanish people have especially more often opted to buy things second hand (42% have done this more often, compared to 39% on average), to borrow them (38% compared to 27%), to exchange them (27% compared to 19% for the European average) and to hire them (27% compared to 17%).

In a growing number of fields, private property is no more a must. A majority of Spanish people now even prefer borrowing or hiring a second home (67% compared to 65%), so as gardening equipment (62% compared to 34% on average).

Spanish people have on average tried 5.3 out of 17 collaborative consumption practices tested, which is more than the European average (4.6).
A majority of them have already bought products from small local producers who live in their region (68% compared to 65% on average) and have already used a tutorial (60% compared to 48% on average). Spanish people did also more often than the average European resort to collaborative consumption concerning car use (26% already used a car-club car, compared to only 13% on average), and in the field of housing (28% have already asked a private individual to rent them their residence for the holidays; compared to 17% on average). Spanish people also have slightly more often than the European average already resorted to practices in the field of collaborative finance: 21% have already invested in socially responsible saving products (compared to 16% on average) and 18% have participated in the financing of a project or an activity someone wanted to carry out (compared to 14%).

Like in the rest of Europe, the main reason for adopting collaborative consumption practices in Spain is to save money or to earn some money (74% of Spanish people cite this reason as one of the two main reasons; 71% on average), which is coherent with the fact that Spanish see the rise of these new consumption habits as mainly caused by the recession prompting people to spend as little as possible (59% cite this explanation, more than “technical changes” cited by 24% or “a real transformation in our societies” cited by 17%).

However, a majority is convinced that collaborative consumption is here to stay: 73% see it as an underlying trend (so as the European average). Only 27% believe on the contrary that these new forms of consumption will not last, and that this phenomenon will run out of steam.

Widespread acclamation of the virtues of collaborative consumption

Spanish people are the most enthusiastic about the virtues of collaborative consumption: 84% think that the development of collaborative consumption leads to more solidarity in society (compared to 69% on average).

Spanish are indeed even more convinced than the European average that collaborative consumption practices can show (even only partly) solidarity: for example, 87% think that exchanging services can be categorised as showing solidarity (compared to 82% on average) and 85% think the same about participating in the creation of an internet tutorial (compared to 76% on average).

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