When the last corona measures expired in December, it turned out to be the time for many Dutch consumers to increase the spending pattern. The ‘end’ of the pandemic meant that people again sat on terraces, bought tickets for museums, cinemas and football matches and booked holidays abroad. Partly because of this, the Dutch spent more each month up to and including May. But that trend does not seem to continue for the rest of the year.

    From a Friday published analysis of ING shows that the Dutch spent less money in June for the first time in months. The bank looked at the transaction data of consumers – debit card, cash and online – and saw that they spent 3 percent less than in May. ING speaks of a “first indication”, but expects that the Dutch will spend less for the rest of the year due to, among other things, rising energy costs.

    ING economist Marten van Garderen does not think that the Dutch will spend less on catering or cultural activities this year, he tells NRC† “That’s because we just got out of the pandemic, we don’t want to reduce it now.” According to him, the figures show that furniture and electronics stores in particular have to count on less income. “These are often the sectors that are affected in such situations,” says van Garderen.

    Also read: Low consumer confidence, high consumption. How is that possible?

    During the corona pandemic, furniture and home furnishings shops did well economically. Out previous figures ING showed that turnover in that sector increased by 8 percent in 2020 and remained about the same in 2021. The Dutch could spend little on activities and were at home a lot, so they started doing more odd jobs and changed their interior. The industry will grow again in 2022, but that growth is expected to stagnate.

    Consumption growth

    The ING figures published on Friday seem to contrast with those of Statistics Netherlands. On Wednesday, research by that institute showed that household consumption in April this year grew by 15 percent compared to the same month a year earlier. However, this can also be explained by the lockdown: in April 2021 it was difficult for consumers to spend money due to closed shops and terraces.

    The sky-high energy prices, partly the result of the war in Ukraine, did not affect the Dutch until April, according to Van Garderen, but that will probably happen later this year. ING expects consumption to weaken further in the second half of this year “even if this first signal remains a false alarm”. Van Garderen: “Consumers will feel it is not a matter of if, but of when”.

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