Household spending almost 3 percent up in December

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According to figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), Dutch consumers spent 2.9 percent more in December 2019 than in December 2018. This was the highest growth rate in 2019. Consumers spent mainly more on passenger cars.

The CBS Consumption Radar shows that circumstances for Dutch household consumption in February are, on balance, more 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 MonthChange (year-on-year % change)
2016January0.3
2016February0
2016March1.1
2016April0.8
2016May1.4
2016June0.8
2016July2.1
2016August1.2
2016September0.9
2016October1.7
2016November2.4
2016December1.6
2017January3.3
2017February2.7
2017March2.2
2017April2.8
2017May3
2017June2.7
2017July2.5
2017August2.3
2017September3.3
2017October1
2017November2.5
2017December1.7
2018January1.8
2018February3.2
2018March3.1
2018April3.3
2018May2.2
2018June2.7
2018July3
2018August2.8
2018September2.2
2018October2.3
2018November2.5
2018December2
2019January1.2
2019February0.7
2019March1.2
2019April1.6
2019May2.5
2019June1.4
2019July1.0
2019August1.0
2019September1.9
2019October1.7
2019November1.4
2019December2.9

Spending on cars, appliances and home furnishing up in particular

In December, consumers spent 8.8 percent more on durable goods than in the same month one year previously, mainly on cars, electrical appliances and home furnishings. Consumer spending on food, beverages and tobacco rose by 1.5 percent. On other goods, such as natural gas and motor fuels, they spent 0.7 percent more than in November 2018.

Last week, CBS reported that the Dutch retail sector achieved year-on-year turnover growth of 5.1 percent in December 2019. The volume of sales increased by 4.2 percent. These figures were also adjusted for the shopping-day pattern.

Consumer spending on services - which accounts for over half of total domestic consumer expenditure - rose by 1.9 percent in December 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 2019
 change (year-on-year % change)
Durable goods8.8
Services1.9
Food, drinks and tobacco1.5
Other goods (e.g. gas)0.7
Total2.9

Consumer climate in February more favourable than in December

Every month, CBS publishes figures about circumstances for household consumption in the CBS Consumption Radar. Household consumption is influenced by factors such as 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 more favourable than in December. This is due to the fact that manufacturers were more positive about future employment in their companies and the year-on-year increase in the employed labour force was higher. Furthermore, consumers’ expectations on future unemployment were more positive. 

The figures presented in this news release are provisional and subject for revision.

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