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  • 2009/09/24
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Worldwide consumer credit outstanding at end 2008 totalled €4.7 trillion, 25 per cent of total household debt.


Evry, 24 September 2009 - Sofinco recently completed an original survey of the global consumer credit market.

At the end of 2008, total consumer credit outstanding worldwide stood at €4.7 trillion, equivalent to €700 per capita.

At the same date consumer credit accounted for 25 per cent of total household debt, estimated at nearly €19 trillion.

There are considerable geographic disparities in the global consumer credit market:

  • North America (€2,045 billion) accounts for almost 44 per cent of the world's total outstanding consumer debt, whereas Africa (€15 billion) only has 0.3 per cent.

  • Europe comes in second place for outstanding consumer credit with €1,352 billion, ahead of Asia and the Middle East, which together account for €1,063 billion.


The world consumer credit market is extremely concentrated. The five leading countries, namely the US, Japan, China, the UK and Canada, account for 70 per cent of the world's outstanding consumer credit.

This rises to 89 per cent for the 15 leading countries. In comparison, the world's 15 leading economies represent 75 per cent of global GDP.


These geographic differences are reflected in per capita levels of outstanding credit:

  • Canada (€7,014) and the United States (€5,749) are the two countries with the highest per capita outstandings.

  • European levels are far lower with an average of €1,767.

  • Levels in Asia and the Middle East together are much lower (€266), showing that the high total levels for this geographic sector are due more to population density (approximately 4 billion inhabitants) than to consumer credit penetration, which is still modest.


Per capita outstandings in France (€2,212) are three times lower than in Canada (€7,014). With total outstandings of €142 billion at the end of 2008, France accounts for 3 per cent of global outstanding consumer debt.


The survey is available on Sofinco's website www.sofinco.com, under “Overview of Consumer Credit”.

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