Household spending nearly 6 percent down in August

© Hollandse Hoogte / Richard Brocken
According to figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), consumers spent 5.8 percent less in August 2020 than in the same month last year. The decline is smaller than over the previous five months. Just as in July, consumers spent less on services, but more on goods.

As indicated by the CBS Household Consumption Radar, circumstances for consumer spending in October are less unfavourable than they were in August.

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)
2016September0.9
2016October1.7
2016November2.4
2016December1.6
2017January3.3
2017February2.6
2017March2.2
2017April2.8
2017May3
2017June2.7
2017July2.5
2017August2.3
2017September3.3
2017October1
2017November2.6
2017December1.7
2018January1.7
2018February3.2
2018March3
2018April3.2
2018May2
2018June2.6
2018July2.8
2018August2.6
2018September2
2018October2.1
2018November2.2
2018December1.7
2019January1.3
2019February0.9
2019March1.4
2019April1.5
2019May2.5
2019June1.4
2019July1.1
2019August1.1
2019September2
2019October2
2019November1.7
2019December3.1
2020January0.9
2020February1.2
2020March-6.4
2020April-17.1
2020May-12.1
2020June-7.1
2020July-6.4
2020August-5.8

Lower spending on services

In August, consumers spent 14.3 percent less on services than in the same month last year. This mainly applied to e.g. restaurants, theatres, amusement parks, gyms and football games as well as public transportation. However, consumers spent more on services such as telephone and internet subscriptions, insurances, housing services, private lease and courier services.

Consumer spending on durable goods increased by 8.2 percent. They mainly spent more on electrical appliances, home furnishings and clothing compared to August 2019. Consumer spending on food, beverages and tobacco was 6.0 percent up year-on-year. Spending on other goods, such as natural gas and motor fuels, was 2.8 percent up.

Three weeks ago, CBS reported a year-on-year turnover growth in retail trade of 10.2 percent in August 2020. The volume of sales increased by 9.3 percent. Turnover was up in both the food sector and the non-food sector. These figures were adjusted for the shopping-day pattern as well

Domestic household consumption by category (volume, adjusted for shopping days), August 2020
 aug-20 (year-on-year % change)
Durable goods8.2
Food, drinks and tobacco6
Other goods (e.g. gas)2.8
Services-14.3
Total-5.8

Conditions less unfavourable in October compared to August 

Every month, CBS publishes indicators to show developments around household consumption in the CBS Household 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 Household Consumption Radar, circumstances for household consumption in October are less unfavourable than in August. This is mainly due to the less negative mood among Dutch manufacturers regarding future employment growth within the company. Consumers’ expectations on their own financial future in the next twelve months are also more positive.  

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

Sources

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