Household consumption almost 11 percent down in February

© Hollandse Hoogte / Robin Utrecht
According to figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), consumers spent 10.7 percent less in February 2021 than in the same month last year. The decline is smaller than in January, when consumers spent 12.0 percent less year-on-year. Just as in the preceding months, consumers spent less on services. The closing of all non-essential stores on 15 December 2020 also led to an exceptionally sharp drop in spending on durable goods.

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)
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
2020January1
2020February1.2
2020March-6.4
2020April-17
2020May-12
2020June-7
2020July-2.4
2020August-2
2020September-3.7
2020October-6
2020November-6.4
2020December-11.6
2021January-12
2021February-10.7

Consumers spent less on services and durable goods

In February 2021, consumers spent 18.2 percent less on durable goods than in February 2020. The contraction is smaller than in January, when consumers spent 25.4 percent less on durable goods. As of 10 February, it was possible to pick up ordered goods at non-essential stores. Households spent considerably less on clothing, footwear and leather goods, transport equipment, home furnishings and electrical appliances than one year previously.

Spending on services such as telephone and internet subscriptions, insurance, visits to hairdressers, restaurants, and football games declined by 15.1 percent in February year-on-year. Restaurants, bars, amusement parks, cinemas, theatres, zoos, museums and swimming pools were closed for the entire month of February. In general, spending on services accounts for over half of total domestic consumer expenditure.

Consumer spending on food, beverages and tobacco was 8.3 percent up year-on-year. This is the largest growth since April 2020. Spending on other goods, such as natural gas, electricity and motor fuels, was 0.8 percent up. Consumers purchased less fuel, but natural gas consumption was higher than in February 2020. This was related to more heating due to lower temperatures.

Three weeks ago, CBS reported a year-on-year turnover decline in retail trade of 2.8 percent in February 2021. Whereas the non-food sector recorded strong turnover decline, the food sector achieved higher turnover. These figures have also been adjusted for the shopping-day pattern.

Domestic household consumption by category (volume, adjusted for shopping days), February 2021
 Change (year-on-year % change)
Food, drinks and tobacco8.3
Other goods (e.g. gas)0.8
Services-15.1
Durable goods-18.2
Total-10.7

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