In the third quarter of 2000 domestic consumer spending (corrected for price changes) was 3.2% higher than in the same quarter of 1999. In the first quarter of 2000 it was still 4.6% higher than in the corresponding period one year previously. As 2000 was a leap year, spending in that quarter was boosted by an extra shopping day.
Consumption growth is still high. It has not dipped under 3% on a quarterly basis since the first quarter of 1997. However, since the first half of 1999 growth rates have been slowing down.
Domestic consumer spending (volume change on same period one year previously)
The growth in spending on durable consumer goods in particular dropped sharply in the second and third quarters of 2000. One important cause of this was the fall in car sales from their high levels in 1999.
Statistics Netherlands does not yet have a complete picture of developments in consumer spending in the last quarter of 2000. Government policy analysts expect to see an increase in purchases of durable items in this quarter, in anticipation of the VAT increases which came into effect on 1 January 2001.
Karin van der Ven