For the eighth consecutive month consumer confidence has fallen in September. The index is now at â€“31, four points down on August and below the lowest point in the previous period of economic recession in March 1993.
This is the lowest level since October 1983. The fall in confidence in September is an indication that consumers are more negative about the economic climate and less willing to buy. Statistics Netherlandsâ€™ consumer confidence survey further shows that confidence fell most substantially in the higher income brackets.
Confidence lower than in 1983
The consumer confidence index is now below the level of March 1993, the lowest point in the previous period of economic recession and the lowest value since the end of 1983. Compared to 1993, consumers have become increasingly negative about their own financial situation during the last twelve months and less inclined to buy expensive articles, although they are more optimistic about future economic developments and their own financial situation than in 1993. Consumersâ€™ opinions on the economic developments in general during the last twelve months are less negative than at the beginning of 1993.
Willingness to buy deteriorating
Willingness to buy has fallen again to reach -17 in September, the lowest level since 1985. Willingness to buy is based on consumersâ€™ opinions on their own financial situation and whether they are prepared to buy expensive articles. Consumers have become more and more pessimistic about their own financial situation. In September, 31 percent indicates that the financial position of their own household has deteriorated, the corresponding percentage for August was 28. For the first time this year, consumers think the time is more favourable to buy expensive items like computers and television sets.
Consumers more negative about the economic climate
In September consumers are again more negative about the national economic situation than in August. This concerns both economic developments in the past twelve months and expectations for the coming period. An increasing number of consumers expect unemployment to rise. In September, 67 percent of the respondents expect unemployment to rise in the months to come, in August the corresponding percentage was 64 and in May 34.
Consumer confidence higher income brackets falls sharply
In the third quarter, the sharpest drop in consumer confidence and willingness to buy was found in the higher income brackets, whereas in the second quarter, the sharpest drop in consumer confidence and willingness to buy was found in the lower income brackets.
(source: Statistics Netherlands)