Household spending marks 1st decrease in 6 months

REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration/File Photo

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japanese household spending in November 2022 fell 1.2% from a year before in inflation-adjusted real terms, marking the first drop in six months, government data showed Tuesday.

The decline largely reflected a continued fall in spending on food items, especially alcoholic drinks.

Spending by households with two or more members averaged ¥285,947 in November, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry said.

Demand also dropped for winter clothes such as coats and heating appliances due to warmer weather, dampening overall spending.

“The real consumer spending excluding the effects of special factors such as weather conditions fell 0.4%,” a ministry official said.

On the impact of soaring prices on consumption, the official said, “While we cannot say that [the rising prices] are the main factor as of now, we will monitor the situation closely.”

Spending on food items fell 2.9%, far larger than a decline of 0.4% in October last year.

Expenditures on alcoholic beverages dropped 8.2%, staying weak after a last-minute demand jump for beer and quasi-beer ahead of October price hikes.

Spending on fishery products plunged 13.4% mainly due to higher prices of tuna and salmon, while that on grain products including bread and rice fell 6.8%.

On the other hand, spending on televisions surged 55.9% on replacement demand spurred by the FIFA World Cup tournament in Qatar, where Japan reached the round of 16.

Spending on domestic package tours grew 63.2% thanks to the government’s nationwide travel discount program launched in October.

Nominal household spending, unadjusted for inflation, increased 3.2%.