Household consumption over 9 percent up in April

© Hollandse Hoogte / Sabine Joosten
According to figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), consumers spent 9.4 percent more in April 2021 than in the same month last year. This the largest year-on-year growth CBS has recorded after World War II. In March, household consumption was still 0.4 percent down on one year previously. The shift from decline to growth was partly the result of the extremely low household consumption level in April 2020 due to the first lockdown. In addition, bars and restaurants were allowed to open their terraces on 28 April 2021, and from that day it was also possible to shop without making an appointment in advance. Furthermore, consumption of natural gas was considerably higher than in April 2020 due to much lower temperatures. In April 2021, household consumption was still 9.2 percent lower than in April 2019.

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)
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-13.1
2021February-11.6
2021March-0.4
2021April9.4

Consumers spent more on both goods and services

In April 2021, consumers spent 17.3 percent more on durable goods than in April 2020. Spending on clothing, footwear and passenger cars was up in particular.

Consumers spent 3.4 percent more on food, beverages and tobacco than one year previously. Consumption of other goods, such as natural gas, electricity and motor fuels, was 19.5 percent up. Due to considerably lower temperatures, households consumed substantially more natural gas. Spending on motor fuels was also higher.

In April 2021, consumers spent 6.7 percent more on services such as telephone and internet subscriptions, insurance, visits to hairdressers, restaurants and football games than in April 2020. This is the first growth in consumption of services since March 2020. In general, spending on services accounts for over half of total domestic consumer expenditure.

Three weeks ago, CBS reported year-on-year turnover growth in retail trade of 9.6 percent in April 2021. Turnover was up in both the food and the non-food sector. Online turnover was higher as well. These figures have also been adjusted for the shopping-day pattern.

Domestic household consumption by category (volume, adjusted for shopping days), April 2021
 Change (year-on-year % change)
Other goods (e.g. gas)19.5
Durable goods17.3
Services6.7
Food, drinks and tobacco3.4
Total9.4

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