In 2020, household consumption expenditure in the EU decreased by an unprecedented 8% compared with 2019, the largest annual reduction recorded since the time series started and it is due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Commission Statistics Office (Eurostat) reported on Monday.
Social distancing measures, government restrictions imposed on the movement of people and non-essential economic activities severely affected household consumption expenditure.
All the EU Member States recorded a decrease in household consumption expenditure. Data for Romania, Greece, Germany, Belgium, France, Croatia, Cyprus, Hungary, the Netherlands and Portugal are provisional, Eurostat said.
When comparing 2019 with 2020, the largest decrease was recorded in Malta (around -22%), followed by Croatia, Spain and Greece (all around -16%). On the other hand, the smallest decreases were recorded in Slovakia and Denmark (both around -2%), followed by Lithuania and Poland (both around -3%), Sweden (minus 3.8%), and Romania (minus 4.3%).
According to Eurostat, the largest decreases in household consumption expenditure were observed for 'Restaurants and hotels' (-38% compared with 2019), 'Clothing and footwear,' 'Transport' and 'Recreation and culture' (all -17%). On the other hand, the largest increases were recorded for 'Food and non-alcoholic beverages' (+3%) and 'Communications' (+2%).
In 2020, over a quarter (26%) of household consumption expenditure was devoted to 'Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels,' making it the EU's largest household expenditure item, ahead of 'Food and non-alcoholic beverages' (15%) and 'Transport' (12%), Agerpres informs.