Consumer Lifestyles in Belgium

Consumer Lifestyle

About This Report

Dec 2016

Belgium escaped the worse ravages of the global economic downturn, with average incomes actually rising modestly over recent years. Suburban lifestyles and car ownership remain the norm. However, with a steadily ageing population, the country faces growing demographic headwinds, and a steadily rising obesity rate is also a cause for concern. With the majority of Belgians now toting smartphones, the mobile internet is becoming increasingly integrated into everyday life.

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Consumer Lifestyles in Belgium

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Consumer Lifestyles in Belgium


Chart 1 Lifestyles in Belgium


The “Belgian Dream” of suburban living
A greying population poses social and economic challenges
The Internet plays an increasingly prominent role in everyday life
Cash is going out of fashion
Losing the battle of the bulge


Babies and Infants
Migration boosts fertility rate
Mothers encouraged to breastfeed for longer
Chart 2 Number of Babies and Infants (Aged 0-2) and Average Age at Childbirth
Digital devices increasingly an integral part of childhood
Almost a quarter of children “at risk of poverty or social exclusion”
Chart 3 Number of Kids (Aged 3-8)
More than three-quarters of Tweens are internet users
Pocket money becomes significant around the age of ten
Chart 4 Distribution of Tweens (Aged 9-12)
More than half of 15-year-old girls have body image issues
Poor dietary habits amongst Teens
Chart 5 Distribution of Teens (Aged 13-17)
Young Adults
Young people feel economically marginalised
Taking longer to fly the nest
Chart 6 Distribution of Young Adults (Aged 18-19) and Age at First Marriage
Middle Youth
In search of a more balanced lifestyle
The driving force of growth in the sharing economy
Chart 7 Distribution of Middle Youth (Aged 30-44)
A revival of interest in communal living
50-somethings tempted by early retirement
Chart 8 Number of Mid-Lifers (Aged 45-59)
Labour force participation on the rise
Sunbirds flying into the sunset
Chart 9 Number of Later-Lifers (Aged 60+) and Life Expectancy


Eating Habits
Consumers look to sustainability
Government seeks to reduce calorie intake by 5%
Chart 10 Consumer Spending on Food and Non-Alcoholic Drinks: 2015
Drinking Habits
Beer consumption in decline
A flourishing craft beer scene
Chart 11 Consumer Spending on Beer, Wines and Spirits: 2015


Attitudes to Health and Wellbeing
Salt consumption in decline
Will drug reimbursement be linked to lifestyle?
Chart 12 Consumer Expenditure on Personal Health: 2015
Ethical Living
Ethical fashion edges closer to the mainstream
Fair trade goes mainstream
Chart 13 Obese and Overweight Population by Gender: 2000-2015
Sport and Fitness
Just over a third are physically active on a daily basis
National football team attracts huge TV audience
Chart 14 Percentage of Households Owning a Bicycle: 2015


Home Ownership
Almost three-quarters of Belgians consider housing to be “expensive”
Housing remains relatively affordable
Chart 15 Overview of Households: 2015
Household Profiles
Level of car ownership remains elevated
Pet appreciation
Chart 16 Households by Type, Occupants, and Pet Ownership
Running Costs
Towards a sustainable future?
Mild winters help to reduce consumer spending on energy
Chart 17 Running Costs per Household: 2015


Leisure Time
Getting the balance right
Almost half of the population directly participates in cultural activities
Increased interest in sustainable travel
The greying of outbound tourism
Chart 18 Holiday Time: 2015
Opportunities for Celebrations and Gift-Giving


The Internet
Belgians want online content, but most don’t want to pay for it
Mobile banking slow to take off
Chart 19 Accessing the Internet: 2015
Attitudes towards Social Media and Networking


Investing in Yourself: Female Personal Grooming and Hygiene
The beauty of wardrobe simplicity
Back to the 90s
Chart 20 Consumer Expenditure on Personal Appearance: 2015
Investing in Yourself: Male Personal Grooming and Hygiene
Style Icons and Celebrity Influences


Main Household Shop
Chart 21 Main Household Shop by Retailer Type: 2015
Shopping for Big-Ticket Items
Shopping Online
Most online shoppers favour foreign retailers
Social media a growing influence on online shopping
Chart 22 Internet Retail Spending: 2015


Attitudes towards Spending
Case Study: Bancontact make it easier for consumers to go cashless
Attitudes towards Savings
Attitudes towards Loans
Savings ratio hits euro-era low in 2015
Towards a cashless future?
In search of financial freedom
Chart 23 Key Spending and Savings Measures: 2015