Wintry weather affects household consumption

Household spending was 1.0 percent higher in December 2010 than in December 2009. Higher natural gas consumption almost entirely accounted for the increase. Due to the harsh weather conditions, gas consumption increased by 20 percent. Consumption figures have been adjusted for price changes and differences in the shopping-day pattern.

Spending on goods was 1.0 percent up on one year previously. The wintry weather caused an increase in the consumption of natural gas, but at the same time tends to keep people from shopping and December is the most important month of the year for retailers. Dutch consumer spending on durable goods dropped by 1.9 percent. Spending on clothing and home furnishing articles dropped dramatically, but consumers spent more on cars. Consumer spending on food, drinks and tobacco was 0.4 percent up, spending on services was 0.9 percent up.

The development of household consumption is in line with the trend indicated in the Household Consumption Radar, which shows that the conditions for consumption growth have gradually improved in the course of 2010.

Household consumption attributed only marginally to the economic recovery in 2010. More information on this subject can be found in the article “Exports boost economy in 2010”.

Domestic household consumption (volume, adjusted for shopping-days)

Domestic household consumption (volume, adjusted for shopping-days)

More figures can be found in dossier Business cycle.