A divided continent? How are Europeans approaching the year ahead?

As the summer fades and Covid continues to impact Europe for a second year, how are Europeans thinking about the year ahead?

Well, like most of the word, European nations are somewhat divided in their outlook. Russia has the highest level of optimism (49%) out of the surveyed nations, and Italy the least (36%). Despite Italy’s recent success in the Olympics and Euros, alongside Poland they have the highest pessimism score (47%), which may reflect how hard the country has been hit by Covid-19.

Interestingly, vaccination rates don’t necessarily impact optimism in the way we might think. For example, Italy currently has one of the highest vaccination rates out of the nations above (137 per 100 people), but scores lowest on optimism. On the other hand, Russia has a much lower vaccination rate in comparison (61 per 100 people) but scores highest on optimism. With the remaining countries having different vaccination rates, this suggests that there is no correlation between the optimism of the country looking forward to the rest of the year, and the vaccination rate in the country.

A lot has changed since the beginning of the pandemic, and many Europeans want that change to continue. In Italy (59%) and Spain (52%), over half want things to change from the way they were before the pandemic. However, in other countries such as Germany (55%) and Russia (48%), the opposite is felt with the majority wanting things to go back to exactly the way they were before the pandemic.

Within each country there may be generational differences, as seen in Germany. Almost two thirds (62%) of those aged over 55 want everything to go back to the way it was before the pandemic, compared to only 43% of German 18–34-year-olds. This younger generation may want things to change for several reasons, with finances being one of them. Two fifths (41%) of German 18- to 34-year-olds feel there are fewer promotions available, in comparison to just 11% of those over 55. Despite this, the younger generation (61%) also agree that now, more than ever, it is worth paying extra for high quality goods.

For brands and businesses alike, this poses significant challenges and questions about how and what they should communicate and when. If you’d like to find out more about what this means for your brand as we approach the start of 2022, please get in touch at