Household consumption sustained the recovery in 2010
Real consumer spending growth quickened from 0.1% in 2009 to 1.3% in 2010, sustaining the economic recovery. The rebound was accompanied by a decline in the saving rate, as household consumption outpaced their real-income gains. The rate slowed from 1.3% in 2009 to 0.8% in 2010. Its increase was hindered by the upturn in prices, which rose 1.2% after easing 0.6%. The consumption rebound concerned nearly all items. Spending on food and clothing revived, as did expenditures on hotels, cafes, and restaurants. Heating expenses accelerated owing to a particularly cold winter and autumn. By contrast, new-car purchases were adversely affected by the lowering of the “scrapping premium”, and life-insurance sales stalled after their 2009 surge.