© Khunaspix Dreamstime.

Those of us who live in Europe may not be pleased to hear it, but we are becoming paupers – well that’s the view of some multinationals whose goods we consume. “Poverty is returning to Europe,” according to Unilever’s head of European operations, while the CEO of L’Oréal referred this week to “the logic of pauperisation”.

The point being made is that because people in Europe, particularly Southern Europe, have less money to spend, companies have to adjust their strategies to treat the market more like they do developing countries.

Unilever, for instance, is selling its goods in smaller packages, which has edged sales up 1.1% in the first half of this year. But higher input prices have exerted pressures on margins and profits.