Dutch consumer spending marginally up from one year previously

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According to figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) today, Dutch consumer spending on goods and services was 0.6 percent up in December 2015 from December 2014, the smallest increase in 2015. Natural gas consumption fell noticeably in December relative to the last month of 2014. The CBS Consumption Radar shows that circumstances for Dutch household consumption are less favourable in February than in January and December.

Consumption figures have been adjusted for price changes and differences in the shopping-day pattern.

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

Monthly natural gas consumption considerably lower in December

The average temperature in December 2015 was much higher than in December  2014. As a result, consumers used less natural gas and spending in the category ‘other goods’  - which includes natural gas - was 6.0 percent down from one year previously.

Consumers spent more on clothing, home furnishing articles, household appliances and cars. Spending on durable goods was more than 4 percent up from one year previously. Last Thursday, Statistics Netherlands already reported that retail trade ended 2015 on a positive note. In December retail turnover results were more than 3 percent above the level of December 2014.

Spending on food, beverages and tobacco products rose by 1.0 percent. Household spending on services - accounting for more than half of total domestic consumer spending - also increased, by more than 1 percent. These services include house rent, public transport, visits to restaurants or hairdressers and insurance premiums.

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

Consumer climate slightly less favourable in February than in December

On balance, circumstances for Dutch household consumption were less favourable in February than in December, according to Statistics Netherlands’ Household Consumption Radar. This is mainly due to the fact that Dutch consumers were more negative about their future financial situation and because the growth rate of Dutch share prices slowed down on an annual basis. Household consumption is affected by consumers’ expectations, their personal financial situation and developments on the job market.

Today, Statistics Netherlands will also release information on Dutch consumer confidence in February.

The numbers in this publication are provisional and can be adjusted.