Domestic individual consumption increased by 1.8% in 2001 on last year. This is half the volume increase observed in 2000, according to the latest figures by Statistics Netherlands.
The quarterly growth rates in the year 2001 do not vary much. The slowdown in consumption already manifested itself early on. The expenditure on durable goods in 2001 was remarkable in that the volume in this consumption category remained almost the same as in 2000. The stagnation in 2001 follows years in which the growth rate was between 5 and 10%.
Stagnating expenditure on durable goods and food
The volume of expenditure on both food and durable consumer goods was slightly lower in 2001 than it had been in 2000. About 3% less was spent on food, beverages and tobacco in terms of volume. The volume decrease of 0.1% on durables meant that expenditure on durables was at the same level as in 2000. Developments of car sales to private individuals in 2001 were rather negative. Consumers also spent less on household articles. On the other hand, there was growth in the expenditure on clothing and consumer electronics.
Expenditure on all goods together, corrected for price changes, increased by 0.6%. Consumers spent 2.7% more on services in 2001. Transport and communication saw the fastest growth. Expenditure on medical and care services was also up substantially. In hotel and restaurant services and in financial and business services the volume of expenditure actually fell on the
No decline in the fourth quarter
In contrast with other economic indicators, there is no decline in the growth rate of consumption during the final quarter of 2001. Here the volume in all consumption categories was up on the fourth quarter of 2000. Consumers spent 1.7% more on goods than in the fourth quarter of 2000 and 2.0% more on services. In the last few months of 2000 consumers anticipated the increase in VAT on 1 January 2001, which was manifest in the purchase of
durable consumer goods. For instance cars were bought a bit earlier, bringing the expenditure of the fourth quarter of 2000 to a relatively high level, which shows in the comparison.
(source: Statistics Netherlands)