Using a framework that incorporates notions from economics and consumer behavior, this paper examines the similarities and differences with respect to consumers and marketing infrastructure in the countries of the European Union. The conclusion is that there are tremendous differences in income levels and income spending patterns among the countries of the European Union and also major differences with respect to consumer values and lifestyles. Furthermore, the distribution and retailing environments as well as the media, differ considerably from one country to the other. The perspective of completely standardized marketing strategies for the whole European Union is still far removed. If a consumer homogenization process is taking place at all, such a process is likely to be slow. Suppliers (i.e., manufacturers and retailers) adopting Euro-oriented marketing strategies will contribute more to the emergence of the `European Consumer' than the autonomous cultural homogenization process.

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ERIM Article Series (EAS)
Journal of International Consumer Marketing
Erasmus Research Institute of Management