Purpose: In the context of European consumers’ experiences of austerity, this study aims to advance current resilience theory in marketing through developing persistent resilience from a context of austerity influenced consumption. Design/methodology/approach: Following an interpretivist approach, 38 face to face, in-depth interviews were conducted with European consumers from Ireland, UK, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece who were affected in some way by the global financial crisis. Findings: Building upon limited conceptual and empirical investigations in social geography, the analysis identifies the themes of persistent stressors and temporal orientation as constants, alongside day-to-day coping, relating and pragmatism, consumer adjustment, repertoires of resistance and transformation as key elements of persistent resilience within the consumption context of austerity. Research limitations/implications: The study addresses the limited theoretical and empirical focus on persistent resilience and austerity and directly contributes to consumer behaviour and marketing theory in understanding persistent resilience and its implications. Practical implications: Changes to behaviours as a result of persistent resilience included reducing and stopping consumption, discount shopping, alternative consumption in the form of growing or making and mindful consumption through wastage reduction and re-use. Social implications: The study highlights the significant social impact of austerity while also identifying positive outcomes for social relations among family, friends and the wider community. Originality/value: This study develops and extends Golubchikov’s (2011) theory of persistent resilience through exploring European consumer responses to austerity, identifying key consumption characteristics relevant for marketing theory and practice.