Household consumption in decline for almost a year

Household spending on goods and services was 2.0 percent down in April 2012 on April 2011. The decline was approximately the same in March (1.8 percent). Consumer spending has been continuously below the level of one year previously for almost twelve months now. Consumption figures have been adjusted for price changes and differences in the shopping-day pattern.

Spending on durable consumer goods fell by 9.2 percent. Consumer spending on clothing and shoes, home furnishing articles and new cars dropped most noticeably, but Dutch consumers spent more on household appliances. Spending on food, drinks and tobacco was 2.3 percent down. Spending on services was marginally below last year’s level (– 0.3 percent).

April 2012 was a relatively cold month, whereas April 2011 was exceptionally mild. Households indeed used far more natural gas for heating than in the same month last year. If the higher natural gas consumption is not taken into account, the decrease in consumer spending would have been 1 percentage point larger.

The Household Consumption Radar shows the conditions for household consumption. These conditions hardly changed in June.

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.