According to the latest figures by Statistics Netherlands consumer expenditure again saw a modest increase in January: the volume of domestic individual consumption was up by 1.8% on January last year. This is similar to the growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2001.
The January figure for expenditure on goods, corrected for price changes, was up 2.0% on January last year, while 1.6% more was consumed in services.
Greatest increase in expenditure was on durable goods
The biggest expenditure increase in January was on durable goods: the volume increase in expenditure was 4.1%. There can be great fluctuations in the growth rate of this consumption category, which is highly sensitive to economic changes. The volume increase for 2001 as a whole was nil. In the previous years it had been between 5 and 10%. Not all constituent categories contributed to the growth rate in January. The volume development for clothing, leather goods, shoes, furnishings and household articles was negative. Consumers spent less in these categories than in January 2001.
Previously published figures show that willingness to purchase, one aspect of consumer confidence, fell during the first few months of 2002. Consumers spent substantially more on means of transport and on household appliances in January compared to January last year. However, the level of expenditure on means of transport was relatively low last year. This was because many consumers bought cars at the end of the year 2000 in anticipation of the introduction of the higher VAT rates on 1 January 2001.
The volume of expenditure on food, beverages and tobacco was 1.0% higher than in January a year ago. These goods were still quite expensive in January.
The value increase not corrected for price changes was 8.0% for this
expenditure category. There has been little growth in the volume of
expenditure on food, beverages and tobacco in recent years. In 2001 as a whole expenditure was actually even lower than in 2000.
(Source: Statistics Netherlands)