Household consumption over 2 percent up in December

According to figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), Dutch household consumption was 2.3 percent up in December 2018 on December 2017. The growth rate was the same as in the previous month. In December 2018, consumers mainly spent more on cars and food.

The CBS Consumption Radar shows that circumstances for Dutch household consumption in February are, on balance, slightly less favourable than in December.

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

Domestic household consumption (volume, adjusted for shopping days) (year-on-year % change)
2015 January2
2015 February2
2015 March2.1
2015 April1.7
2015 May1.3
2015 June2.3
2015 July1.5
2015 August1.4
2015 September2.2
2015 October1.7
2015 November0.8
2015 December0.8
2016 January0.7
2016 February0.4
2016 March1.1
2016 April0.4
2016 May1.9
2016 June0.7
2016 July2.4
2016 August1.5
2016 September1.1
2016 October2.6
2016 November2.8
2016 December2.5
2017 January3.4
2017 February1.5
2017 March1.7
2017 April2.6
2017 May2.5
2017 June2.3
2017 July2.2
2017 August1.9
2017 September2.6
2017 October1.8
2017 November2.4
2017 December1.3
2018 January1.9
2018 February3
2018 March3.2
2018 April3.2
2018 May2
2018 June2.6
2018 July2.9
2018 August2.3
2018 September2.2
2018 October2
2018 November2.3
2018 December2.3

Dutch households mainly spend more on food and cars

In December, consumers spent over 3 percent more on food, beverages and tobacco. They spent almost 3 percent more on durable goods. Spending on cars and household appliances was up in particular. Consumer spending on the category ‘other goods’ was down by 0.5 percent. Consumers mainly spent less on natural gas.

Last week, CBS reported that retail turnover was over 2 percent up in December year-on-year. The volume of sales increased by over 1 percent. This figure was also adjusted for the shopping-day pattern.

Consumer spending on services - accounting for over half of total domestic consumer expenditure - rose by 2.5 percent in December 2018 year-on-year. These services include insurance premiums, house rent, public transportation and visits to restaurants or hairdressers.

Domestic household consumption by category (volume, adjusted for shopping days), December 2018 (year-on-year % change)
Food, drinks and tobacco3.2
Durable consumer goods2.9
Other goods (e.g. gas)-0.5

Consumer climate in February slightly less favourable than in December

CBS publishes figures about circumstances for household consumption on a monthly basis in the CBS Consumption Radar. Household consumption is affected by consumers’ expectations, their personal financial situation and developments on the labour market. Although the Radar indicators show a strong correlation with household consumption, improved circumstances are not necessarily translated into increased growth.

According to the CBS Consumption Radar, circumstances for Dutch household consumption in February are less favourable than in December. Opinions of consumers on their financial situation in the next twelve months deteriorated. However, manufacturers’ expectations on future employment were more positive.


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