Fund managers explain how the recovery experienced by European dividends since 2008 has further to run, despite the recent high market volatility.
ING expects financials' dividend payments should pick up, as the sector's distribution portion draws nearer to reaching its long-term average.
Telecoms and utilities have the highest dividend yields - around 4.7% and 4% over 12 months, Simar notes. But he cautions:
"One must approach things selectively in these sectors, as high foreign borrowings and sinking free cash flow yields question further dividend increases of a few players."
What else might derail the generally optimistic dividend predictions? A lack of trust in the sustainability of corporate earnings, and a related erosion of willingness to pay dividends are potential dangers, Simar says. But another commonly cited risk of cash-absorbing M&A activity, is unlikely.
From a macro perspective, ING feels investors in advanced economies will increasingly focus on dividend income as they grow older.
"Dividends are more stable than profits, which has even more validity when one takes into account the dividend growth.
"Dividends have been the most important driver of equity returns over the long term. As European companies have strong corporate earnings, healthy cash flow and rebuilt balance sheets, we expect to see many companies not only maintain, but grow dividends."
The importance of dividends in total returns from shares can hardly be questioned.
All but 0.1% of the 7.6% annual euro returns from German shares since 1981 came from the combination of dividend yield and dividend growth, according to analysis by BlackRock.
In France, shares' value fell 0.1% per annum over the period, but dividends provided 10.3%. And in the UK, the meagre capital growth of 0.2% was boosted by 11.3% annual returns from income.
The pattern is repeated in Japan and the US, among other markets.
In innovative research, DWS's Schuessler has taken such an argument that poor capital performance could be ‘saved' by dividends - as income comprises about 4.8% of equity's total 10.4% annual returns over 100 years - and turned it on its head.
Instead, Schuessler takes dividends as the starting point. He then asks, what kind of share price performance does one get by buying companies that increase, maintain or cut their dividend payouts?
First of all, he says that having companies that cut dividends is a very bad policy indeed, and it loses you money even after a lifetime 40 years' investing. Such stocks (in the S&P 500 index) were down 33% since 1971.
Those that simply paid no dividends made holders a meagre 1.3% a year. Those holding dividends steady rose by 7.1% per annum - around the same as the S&P 500's average annual return.
But those that grew dividends returned 9.3% a year. "The longer you invest in dividend stocks the higher the probability of out performance," Schuessler says.
Of course there are periods when dividends' contribution falls as a proportion of total returns.