Dutch households spent 1.3 percent more on goods and services in March 2008 than one year previously. This growth rate is lower than in the previous six months. Consumption figures have been adjusted for price changes and for differences in the shopping day pattern. There are more uncertainties in the adjustment for shopping days this month because of the early Easter.
The slowdown is mostly caused by the diminished growth of spending on goods. In March these only were 0.6 percent higher on the year before. Spending on food, beverages and tobacco was 3.6 percent higher. Spending on durable consumer goods, on the other hand, fell by 3.5 percent. This is the largest decline in three years. The purchase of durables is very sensitive to fluctuations in the economy.
Households spent 2.0 percent more on services. This increase is mainly caused by the introduction of a policy excess in health care insurance at the beginning of 2008. As a result, consumers started to pay more for medical service.
Despite diminishing consumption growth in March, the growth rate for the first quarter is comparable with that of 2006 and 2007. In the first quarter consumption was 2.3 percent higher than in the same period the year before. In 2006 and 2007 the growth rates were 2.8 and 2.1 percent respectively.
Domestic household consumption (volume)