According to figures released by Statistics Netherlands today, Dutch consumer spending on goods and services was up by 1.9 percent in March 2015 on the same month last year. Consumers spent more on natural gas, home appliances and furnishings. May’s consumer confidence index increased slightly relative to April.
Consumption figures have been adjusted for price changes and differences in the shopping-day pattern.
Dutch consumers spent more on natural gas, home appliances and furnishings
As in the previous two months temperatures were lower in March 2015 relative to one year previously, consumers used more natural gas. Primarily because of this, spending on other goods, including energy, was up by 7.8 percent.
Household spending on durable goods was 1.6 percent higher in March than twelve months previously. Consumers spent more on home appliances and furnishings. Last week, Statistics Netherlands already reported that home furnishing shops achieved the highest turnover growth in seven years. This is in line with the recovery of the housing market. Dutch consumers spent 1.4 percent more on food, drinks and tobacco products than last year.
Household spending on services - accounting for more than half of total domestic consumer spending - grew by 0.8 percent. Services include rent, public transport, visits to restaurants or hairdressers, and insurance premiums.
Circumstances for consumption have improved further since April
According to Statistics Netherlands’ Household Consumption Radar, circumstances for Dutch household consumption improved further in April and May relative to March. By means of six indicators, the Household Consumption Radar shows whether circumstances for Dutch consumption have improved or become less favourable.
Circumstances have improved in May relative to April because Dutch consumers were less pessimistic about their personal financial situation over the next 12 months. Dutch manufacturers were also less pessimistic about future employment in their sector.
Consumers are optimistic
The mood among consumers has improved in May 2015 compared to April. Consumer confidence rose by 2 points to 2. The increase in confidence is mainly caused by the fact that consumers’ willingness-to-buy is also less negative.
A consumer confidence level of 2 is far above its long-term average over the past two decades (- 9). It was at its highest level (27) in April 2000. The lowest level was reached in February 2013 when consumer confidence dipped to - 44.
Willingness-to-buy increases, consumer’s opinion about the economic climate hardly changes
Consumers’ willingness-to-buy was somewhat less negative in May than in April. This component indicator of consumer confidence rose by 3 points to -5. Consumers were less pessimistic about their personal financial situation over the next 12 months. They also find the time to buy consumer durables better.
Consumers opinions about the economic climate hardly changes. This component indicator Economic climate rose to 13 from 12 in April.
For more information on economic indicators, see the Economic Monitor.