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Car sales up, illegal downloads down: sign of the times for Spain’s strengthening economy

Author:   |  May 19th, 2017

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Car sales in Spain increased significantly in the first quarter of this year.

Car sales in Spain increased significantly in the first quarter of this year.

For a short while during the credit crunch years of 2008-2012, Spain was Europe’s hotbed for illegal downloads. From music to film and even unlicensed software, many cash-strapped Spaniards turned to dodgy online services to get hold of content they perhaps couldn’t afford, or did not want to pay for…

Spain was certainly not alone in this trend, but it was most definitely a leader. But now, no longer. As the nation’s economy has picked up in recent years, and as more affordable streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify have been made available, the number of Spaniards illegally downloading content has plunged.

Based on a survey of more than 4,000 Spanish internet users carried out by consultancy firm Gfk, pirated consumption is at a ten-year low. Around half of those surveyed who were found to still be downloading content illegally said that, because they pay for their internet connection, they believe that anything they can get their hands on online is fair game.

A similar amount also said that they would pay if content became cheaper.

According to the survey, content piracy accounted for €1.8 billion in lost earnings in 2016. If this content had been bought and paid for, it could have supported 21,000 jobs in Spain alone, the consultancy firm found.

One area of Spain’s economy that is certainly adding jobs is its automotive industry, which has welcomed the news that 7.9% more cars have been bought in Spain in the first quarter of the year as compared to last year.

Car sales – like property sales – are pretty accurate belllwethers of the state of an economy, and so rising sales in either or both of these sectors is to be celebrated.

The Spanish Association of Automobiles and Trucks (ANFAC) calculated that 307,911 cars were bought in Spain in the first quarter of the year, with Málaga topping the Andalusian charts, registering 10,270 new vehicles, followed by Seville with 9,778 new registrations.

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