Dutch population made more spending cuts in December than rest of EU
People in the Netherlands spent far less at retail locations in December than a month earlier. Cutbacks in consumer spending were observed across the European Union as a whole, and the Netherlands experienced the largest decrease of all EU countries. The timing is notable, as December often regarded as a period for stocking up on gifts and Christmas dinners.
Food, drink and tobacco in particular were purchased in lower quantities. This suggests that fewer households took on the job of cooking and hosting a Christmas dinner, possibly due to high inflation. However, with the hospitality sector fully reopened for the first Christmas period since 2019 due to the elimination of coronavirus restrictions, people may also have returned to their favorite restaurants and cafe for a holiday meal.
In the Netherlands, the contraction in retail trade volume was equivalent to a 6.3 percent decrease compared to a month earlier. For the entire European Union, the decrease was an average of 2.6 percent. Food, drink and tobacco purchases fell by 2.9 percent, non-food purchases were down by 2.8 percent, while there was a 2.3 percent increase in automotive fuel purchases compared to the previous month.
Retail trade fell 6.6 percent for food, drinks and tobacco in in the European Union in December 2022 versus the same month a year earlier. Non-food purchases dropped 0.9 percent, and automotive fuel purchases rose 7.3 percent. The largest drop for the period was found in Belgium, with a 9.2 percent contraction. The Dutch bought as much in stores as in December 2021, when the country was still in a lockdown.
“In December 2022 compared with December 2021, the calendar adjusted retail sales index decreased by 2.8% in the euro area and by 2.5% in the EU,” according to Eurostat. “The annual average level of retail trade for the year 2022, compared with 2021, increased by 0.7% in the euro area and by 1.1% in the EU.”
Last November, retail sales in the EU rose by more than 1 percent on a monthly basis.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times