What do we want? When do we want it? In the case of European consumers, the answer is often intangible products and services, consumed at THE same time as they are produced. As European industry has declined, the service sector has increased in importance – a trend that is showing no sign of going away.
Rising standards of living across much of the EU have seen an increase in demand for consumer services and a consequent movement of labour into the sector. The sector’s share of the economy is further increased when European companies outsource their manufacturing functions outside the EU while carrying out the rest of their activities (such as advertising, design, technical assessment and customer service) within their countries of origin. While levels of service sector employment in southern Europe now match that of the north, more recent member states still have some way to go in the process of ‘tertiarisation’ of their economies attracting UK holidaymakers.
Sector at a glance
- 7.9 million tourists visited Barcelona in 2014
- 43% of Spain’s population visited a dentist in the past 12 months
- 13.7% of the UK population are registered members of a health club