Tools and resources to help your company expand globally

flag Spain Spain: Reaching the consumer

In this page: Consumer Profile | Marketing opportunities


Consumer Profile

Consumer Profile
The median age has risen sharply since 1970 and reached 45.8 years in 2022. The population is ageing very quickly and decreased by -0.04% between 2021 and 2022. Around 11.8% of the population is under 13 while 67.5% of the population is between 13 to 65 years old and 20.7% is over 65 years old (Data Reportal, 2022). On average, households are made up of 2.5 people in 2020; with 26.35% of households made up of only one person, 30.24% of two persons, 20.48% of three persons, 17.03% of four persons, and 5.91% of five persons or more (Instituto Nacional de Estadistica). Around 50.8% of the population are women. About 81.3% of the population lives in urban areas. Most of the population lives in the agglomerations along the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean, but also in Madrid, Seville and Zaragoza. The three main cities in terms of population are Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. The OECD estimates that 47.4% of adults aged 25 to 34 have a tertiary degree in Spain compared to 45.5% on average across OECD countries. On average, 36.4% of all upper secondary students enroll in Vocational Education and Training (VET) programmes in Spain, a lower proportion than the OECD average of 42.5%. Some 20.3% of the active population are working as service and sales workers, 19.6% are professionals, 12.4% have elementary occupations, 12% are technicians, 10.6% are craft workers, 10.6% are clerical support workers, 7.7% are plant and machine operators, 4% are managers, and 2.2% are agricultural workers (Eurostat, 2021).
Purchasing Power
The GDP per capita PPP is $ 37,756.4 in 2020, according to the latest data by the World Bank. Data from Spain’s statistical institute (INE, 2019) shows Spanish workers earn an average of €24,396 a year. The average gross salary for men is 26,934 euros, whereas for women is only 21,682 euros. The Gini index on income inequality is 34.3 in 2019 (World Bank). Purchasing power parity in Spain has been decreasing the last few years since wage developments have not kept pace with rising prices. According to the World Bank, in 2020, the purchasing power parity was 0.61 LCU per international dollars. In Spain, the average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is USD 27,155 a year, less than the OECD average of USD 30,490 a year. In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, private consumption dropped by -12% in volume in 2020, but it rebounded to 4.4% in 2021 (OECD).
Consumer Behaviour
Spain is a consumer society. As a result of the economic crisis and the level of unemployment, price has become one of the main purchase determinants. The ease of payment, promotions and effective customer service are other key factors. On average, the Spanish shops two to three times a week, although around 50% of sales take place on the weekend. Price hypersensitivity results in a lack of brand loyalty. 75% of Spaniards look for a bargain before buying something, while a quarter leave their regular retailer if they find lower prices elsewhere.

Television is one of the best media in Spain when it comes to spreading the news about brands. 99.7% of Spaniards own a television, but the television advertising industry is competitive and expensive. Radio is also very popular, as 60% of Spaniards listen to radio every day for at least two hours. About 85% of Internet users between the ages of 16 and 65 are active on social networks, and the opinion of an influencer or other consumers will sometimes influence purchasing decisions. Spaniards are among the Europeans most concerned about personal data protection with over 50% expressing their lack in confidence (Statista).

On average, Spaniards spend 328 euros a month on food and 554 euros a year on fashion items (Mordor Intelligence, 2020). There are 43.9 million internet users in Spain, making ecommerce a huge market. Ecommerce market value was estimated at USD 27 billion in 2021, and the most popular purchases on the internet are fashion items (ecommerceDB). Spain has embraced mobile shopping, which was estimated to account for 73% of e-commerce sales in 2021 (Ditrendia). Even if the imported products are widely consumed in Spain, the national products inspired by Spanish culture (in the packaging for example) are generally preferred.

Responsible consumption is developing in Spain. The number of consumers looking for more responsible products, traceability and better quality is increasing. The second-hand market is becoming increasingly popular among Spanish consumers. Collaborative economy platforms are developing in Spain and the Spanish Competition Authority (CNMC) has been supportive. Almost half of the surveyed Spaniards answered that they used the second-hand app Wallapop to purchase this type of products.
Consumer Recourse to Credit
In Spain, the vast majority of residents use debit cards to pay for goods and services. Credit cards are not as widespread but their use is growing. Overall household debt is down in Spain, reaching 60.8% of the country's GDP. This is due to the fact that mortgages are down, and that this has not been offset by the rise in consumer credit. Household debt is made up of around 80% mortgages and 20% consumer loans. The outstanding amount of these is 85 billion euros in 2018. Consumer loans are mainly used to finance vehicles, durable goods and holidays. Competition in the consumer credit market, with the arrival of digital platforms, is pushing credit institutions to make low-cost offers, and the demand for credit could therefore continue to increase. However, the central bank of Spain remains vigilant and considers that if it jeopardises banking stability it could intervene.
Growing Sectors
Leisure and culture, vehicles, accommodation and food services, furniture and carpets, telephones, education, home and garden equipment, clothing.
Consumers Associations
OCU , Organisation for Consumers and Users
CECU , Confédération des consommateurs et utilisateurs
FACUA , Federation of Active Consumers

Population in Figures

Total Population:
Urban Population:
Rural Population:
Density of Population:
95 Inhab./km²
Men (in %)
Women (in %)
Natural increase:
Medium Age:
Ethnic Origins:
The population is composed of a combination of people of Mediterranean and Nordic origins. Native-born Spanish represent 88.7% of the population, and foreigners 11.3%, the majority of whom are Moroccans, Romanians, Colombians, Ecuadorians and Venzuelans. (Spanish Statistical Office).

Population of main metropolitan areas

City Population
Madrid 3,334,800
Barcelona 1,664,200
Valencia 800,300
Sevilla 691,400
Zaragoza 681,900
Malaga 578,500
Murcia 459,400
Palma 422,600
Las Palmas 381,300
Bilbao 350,200

Source:, Latest available data.


Age of the Population

Life Expectancy in Years

Source: World Bank, Latest data available.

Distribution of the Population By Age Bracket in %
Under 5:
6 to 14:
16 to 24:
25 to 69:
Over 70:
Over 80:

Source: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, Latest data available.


Consumption Expenditure

Purchasing Power Parity 202220232024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)
Purchasing Power Parity (Local Currency Unit per USD) 0.590.610.610.610.61

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, Latest data available.

Definition: Purchasing Power Parity is the Number of Units of a Country's Currency Required to Buy the Same Amounts of Goods and Services in the Domestic Market as USD Would Buy in the United States.

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Household Final Consumption Expenditure 202020212022
Household Final Consumption Expenditure
(Million USD, Constant Price 2000)
Household Final Consumption Expenditure
(Annual Growth, %)
Household Final Consumption Expenditure per Capita
(USD, Constant Price 2000)

Source: World Bank, Latest data available.

Information Technology and Communication Equipment, per 100 Inhabitants %
Telephone Subscribers 114.2
Main Telephone Lines 41.1
Cellular mobile subscribers 114.2
Internet Users 72.0
PCs 39.3

Source: International Telecommunication Union, Latest data available.

Return to top

Marketing opportunities


Media in Which to Advertise

Television has the strongest advertising impact (nearly 90% penetration), as virtually every Spanish home has a television (99.7%). But the very many channels, especially regional channels, make its use very expensive and only affordable to the powerful brands relying on an excellent distribution network. Peak viewing hours are between 2:00-4:00 p.m. and 9:00- 11:30 p.m. Dramas, reality shows, and soap operas are especially popular.

The most watched channels in a 2016 September sample by market share were Telecinco (14.1%), Antena 3 (12.3%), La 1 (9.4%), thematic pay channels (7.4%), autonomic channels (7.2%), La Sexta (7%), Cuatro (6.4%), FDF (3.4%), La 2 (2.7%), and Neox (2.6%). As all TV channels must now broadcast through TDT (digital technology), new channels have appeared (Intereconomia TV, Popular TV, etc.).

Advertisement spending on Spanish TV
exceeded 2.27 billion euros in 2017, a 5.82% increase from 2016 (2.15 billion euros). Spanish pay TV is also expected to reach 7.1 million subs by 2021, a 46.6% penetration rate according to Advanced Television. Current market leaders in this sector include Movistar (3.67 million subscribers), Vodafone (1.29 million subscribers), and Orange (600,000 subscribers).

Main Televisions
Antena 3 Group
Telecinco Group
The penetration rate of daily newspapers in 2017 was 24.5% of the population, which follows a downward trend that started in written press since 2009. Daily newspaper ownership is concentrated in a reduced number of large media groups.

Number of readers per day from April 2016 to March 2017 (in thousands): Marca (2,062), El Pais (1,141), As (1,115), El Mundo (716), La Vanguardia (581), La Voz de Galicia (565), El Periodico (471), Mundo Deportivo (436), ABC (432), Sport (419), El Correo (382), La Nueva España (302), Levante (271), Faro de Vigo (250), and Heraldo de Aragón (242) (source:

Main Newspapers
Unidad Editorial Group
El Comercio S.A
Godo Group
Zeta Group
Metro International SA
Schibsted Group
Grupo Planeta
Voz Group
Postal advertising makes it possible to reach the customers directly. It is easier to measure its impact than that of an advertisement on television. This type of advertising requires having an address list, but then Spanish law restricts the purchase of address lists. The fly sheets announce the promotions of neighborhood stores, more than advertising a product.
In Transportation Venues
The Spanish airlines, shipping and railway companies (Renfe) publish all their magazines, free of cost mostly in two languages (Castilian/English), for their customers. Their impact, which is not measured, seems insignificant. To be noted that, in outdoor advertising, the advertisements on urban buses (viewed by 9.5 M persons/day) and bus stations (8.5 M) have the strongest impact.

Market Leaders:
Exterion Media
Azul Marino
The penetration rate of radio is 59.5%. It is thus an attractive media to advertise in. But more so than in other media, there are many theme-based or local radios. About 60% of Spanish listen to radio every day for almost two hours. Peak listening hours are early in the morning and late at night.

The major general radio are Cadena SER with 4.7 million listeners/day, a 39% penetration rate and 50 stations; religious COPE 2.1 million listeners/day; Onda Cero 1.7 million listeners/day and a 13.5% penetration rate; public Radio Nacional de Espana with 1.2 million listeners/day and a 8.8% penetration rate and Catalunya Radio 0.5 million listeners/day and a 3.8% penetration rate.

Main Radios

Groupe Antena 3
RTVE (government radio)
68% of the Spanish population (24 million) uses the Internet daily; this number escalates to 98% in teenagers and decreases to 43.7% in the 65 to 74 age range. Over half of teenagers carry out all their online interactions on mobile devices, according to Fundación Telefónica. While TV has a larger volume of ad revenue, Internet ad revenue grows at a faster pace (5.4% according to El Mundo).

Mail ads, used significantly in recent years, have two disadvantages: most users have anti-spam software or delete mails without reading them if they are from unknown senders.

Market Leaders:

Main Advertising Agencies
Publicidad Supra
J.C. Decaux España
McCann World Group
Double You
Medios Outlet

Main Principles of Advertising Regulations

Alcohol advertisement is regulated by the General Audiovisual Communication Law (Ley General de la Comunicación Audiovisual, in Spanish) and the General Advertisement Law (Ley General de Publicidad, in Spanish).

Advertising alcoholic with over 20º concentration is prohibited on TV or in places where the sale or consumption is prohibited. Advertisement for drinks with less than 20º alcohol concentration cannot be shown between 6 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., unless the alcoholic beverage is an inseparable part of the show in that timeframe. These latter drinks also cannot be aimed at minors, foster unmoderated consumption, or associate itself with better physical performance, social success, or health.
Advertising tobacco is prohibited on TV or places where the sale or consumption is not allowed. The EU Tobacco Advertising Directive bans tobacco advertising in printed media, radio, and internet as well as the sponsorship of cross-border events or activities. Flavored cigarettes are also banned in Spain. 65% of cigarette casings must contain health warnings. Electronics cigarettes must also follow similar advertising standards to tobacco products.
Needs prior administrative authorization. The advertisement must be followed by a written warning text to read (4 items: child safety, consult doctor, pharmacist, etc.). The advertising of medical products is regulated by Council Directive 2001/83/EC.
Other Rules
The General Advertising Law bans any advertising which affects the dignity of the person or the values and rights recognized by the Constitution. Misleading advertising, dishonest advertising, subliminal advertising and advertising that infringes the stipulations of the law on certain products, goods, services or defined activities is also illegal. Regulation 1924/2006 sets conditions for the use of nutrition and health claims.
Use of Foreign Languages in Advertisement
It is counterproductive to use a foreign language except as an allusive mention of a famous origin (e.g. parfum français [French perfume]). Dubbing/translation or sub-titling are mandatory.

Return to top

Any Comment About This Content? Report It to Us.


© eexpand, All Rights Reserved.
Latest Update: June 2024