More than 2.7 million consumers in Poland are behind in paying off their debts, new data has shown.
Poles were collectively PLN 73.4 billion (EUR 17 bn, USD 19 bn) in the red as of the end of the third quarter of this year, the Rzeczpospolita daily has reported, citing a study by data provider BIG InfoMonitor.
The overall debt rose up by PLN 2.4 bn from the second quarter and by over PLN 10 bn compared with the same period last year, according to the study.
Around 400 Poles have each racked up a debt of over PLN 1 million, Rzeczpospolita said.
The total sum of Poles’ non-loan debt, which includes unpaid bills and alimony, has been growing the fastest, reaching nearly PLN 40 bn at the end of the third quarter, PLN 7.2 bn more than a year earlier.
Elżbieta Mączyńska, chairman of the Polish Economic Society, an association of economists, told Rzeczpospolita that the trend was down to a growing consumer culture in Poland and people trying to "keep up with the Joneses."
Mączyńska added that consumers' growing aspirations sometimes stretched beyond their financial means.