Dutch residents buy fewer products, but spend more on services
The population of the Netherlands bought fewer products in February, but they did spend more on services, said Statistics Netherlands (CBS) this week. Spending was reduced on food, furniture and clothing in particular. But because more money was spent on purchases like restaurant dinners and theater tickets, consumer spending increased by 2.6 percent compared to February 2022.
The expenditures on services rose by 7.4 percent on an annual basis, adjusted for inflation. The CBS pointed out that a hard lockdown no longer applied in February 2022, but cafes, restaurants and cultural institutions still had to check for coronavirus access passes when admitting guests. Services account for more than half of all expenditure by Dutch consumers.
The Dutch actually spent 2 percent less on durable goods, mainly buying less clothing and home furnishing products. In addition, expenditures on food, beverages, alcohol and tobacco fell by 3.8 percent. According to Statistics Netherlands, many households also saved on their natural gas consumption, but they often filled up their cars with petrol or diesel.
Earlier it became clear that retailers in the Netherlands were selling less. The same picture emerged in Germany. But the mood among consumers may improve. For example, according to Statistics Netherlands, they were less negative about future finances in March. On the other hand, the fall in home sales prices may make homeowners somewhat gloomier.
ING economist Marten van Garderen examined debit card payments, transactions processed by iDeal, and cash withdrawals at ATMs and concluded that overall spending in the Netherlands has held up well over the past three months. This despite the sharp increase in cost of living and the low level of consumer confidence. "Apparently the income support from the government and the pick-up in wage growth still offer quite a bit of counterweight."
Reporting by ANP