Consumers again reticent in April

The volume of domestic household consumption in April 2004 was almost identical to that of April 2003. There is a difference in shopping day pattern though. When corrected for this difference, consumption volume in April 2004 was down 0.5 percent on April 2003, according to the latest figures by Statistics Netherlands.

Less consumption of goods

In April 2004 the volume of the consumption of goods, corrected for differences in shopping day pattern, was down 2.2 percent on April 2003. The decrease in volume in the consumption of food, beverages and tobacco was almost 2 percent. The volume of expenditure on durable goods in April was down 3.5 percent on April 2003. Examples of durable goods are shoes, clothing, furniture and cars.

More consumption of services

Shopping day patterns almost have no effect on the volume developments in the consumption of services. The volume of expenditure on services in April was up 1.0 percent on April 2003. Household expenditure on care services are higher in 2004 due to major changes in the compulsory health insurance and the exceptional medical expenses laws, but also without the effects of these changes the consumption of services increased.

Smaller decreases in the first few months of 2004

In 2003 household consumption saw its first volume decrease since 1982. Expenditure was especially low in the second half of 2003. During the first four months of 2004 the volume of consumption was even lower than during the same period in 2003. The decrease is substantially smaller than in the second half of 2003.

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