11 Household economies

Understanding household consumption patterns is about understanding human behaviour. Consumption patterns in Europe are very different to those 50 years ago. Important factors that drive our consumption include growing incomes, globalisation of the economy, technological breakthroughs (such as the Internet and mobile phones), decreasing household sizes and an ageing population. At the same time, the growing number of goods and services we consume often offsets the efficiency gains we achieved, through for example, improved production technologies and processes.