In November 2003 the volume of domestic consumption was 3.1 percent down on the same month of 2002. Consumers spent less on durable goods in particular. About half the decrease in domestic consumption in November can be ascribed to the difference in shopping day patterns between November 2003 and 2002, according to Statistics Netherlands. However, even without this influence households were more reticent in their consumer spending in November. Corrected for price changes, consumers spent 1.1 percent less during the first eleven months of 2003 than they did in the same period of 2002.
Consumption of durable goods substantially lower
The volume of expenditure on durable goods in November 2003 was down 7.2 percent on November 2002. Consumers spent less on all groups of products. The greatest dip took place in the purchase of clothing, textiles and home furnishings.
Consumers spent 6.0 percent less on food, beverages and tobacco. November 2003 had one Friday less than November 2002. Fridays are major food shopping days.
Expenditure on services, corrected for price changes, was on balance the same as in November 2002. The consumption of services was under less pressure than the consumption of goods during the first eleven months of 2003. People spent more on a number of services, such as housing, transport, culture and medical care, corrected for price changes. The increase almost entirely compensated the lower volume of expenditure on hotels and catering.
Fluctuation of monthly figures
Monthly consumption figures may fluctuate quite a lot due to the shopping day patterns. When these are not taken into account, the volume decrease in November would have been nearly half. When the differences in shopping day patterns are taken into account, the decrease in consumption in November and October are at about the same level as in the third quarter.
PDF contains complete press release, including tables and graphics.