Household spending 1 percent up in January

According to figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), Dutch consumers spent 1.0 percent more in January 2020 than in January 2019. The growth rate was considerably smaller than in December (2.9 percent). This was due to a lower natural gas consumption, among other things.

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

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)
Year MonthChange
2016February0.0
March1.1
April0.8
May1.4
June0.8
July2.1
August1.2
September0.9
October1.7
November2.4
December1.6
2017January3.3
February2.7
March2.2
April2.8
May3.0
June2.7
July2.5
August2.3
September3.3
October1.0
November2.5
December1.7
2018January1.8
February3.2
March3.1
April3.3
May2.2
June2.7
July3.0
August2.8
September2.2
October2.3
November2.5
December2.0
2019January1.4
February1.0
March1.5
April1.6
May2.5
June1.4
July1.0
August1.0
September1.9
October1.9
November1.6
December2.9
'20January1.0

Spending on appliances and home furnishing up in particular

In January, consumers spent 3.1 percent more on durable goods than in the same month last year, mainly on electrical appliances, home furnishings and cars. Consumer spending on food, beverages and tobacco rose by 1.0 percent. On other goods, such as natural gas and motor fuels, they spent 5.1 percent less than in January 2019. Natural gas consumption was considerably lower as a result of the milder weather.

Last week, CBS reported that the Dutch retail sector achieved year-on-year turnover growth of 3.7 percent in January 2020. The volume of sales increased by 2.2 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 1.8 percent in January 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), January 2020 (year-on-year % change)
 change
Durable goods3.6
Services1.8
Food, drinks and tobacco1.0
Other goods (e.g. gas)-5.1
Total1.0

Consumer climate in March less favourable than in January

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 March are less favourable than in January. This is mainly due to the fact that the year-on-year rise in share prices turned into a decline.

The household consumption figures for the reporting month of January do not yet reflect the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. The consumption radar contains two indicators from the consumer confidence survey with March figures. Approximately 85 percent of the respondents participating in the consumer confidence survey had already responded to the survey before the far-reaching measures against the spread of coronavirus came into effect on Thursday 12 March. The effect of these measures is probably not yet reflected in the consumer confidence measurements for March.

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

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