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Consumer food spending in the Netherlands due to the coronavirus 2020, by category

The coronavirus outbreak had a major impact on consumer spending on food in March and April of 2020. Whereas some food sector categories enjoyed unprecedented sales increases, others experienced a drastic reduction in consumer spending. During the period March 9 to April 12, 2020, Dutch consumers spent approximately 34 percent more on groceries than the year before, whereas they reduced spending in restaurants, pubs and bars by almost 90 percent. Wholesale spending enjoyed the highest growth with a 133 percent increase in the last week of March, compared to the year before.

Food retail and hospitality sector

The outbreak of COVID-19 and the lockdown measures implemented in the Netherlands resulted in a polarizing food consumption trend. On the one hand, food retailers initially experienced unprecedented spikes in sales, even topping Christmas sales. This hoarding of food preserves and hygiene products to stock up the “pandemic pantry” coincided with the first indications of a lockdown. In addition to supermarkets, delis, wholesale stores, and liquor stores, the online food delivery market also enjoyed a spike in sales. Online food delivery profited from the aforementioned closure of restaurants, which forced them to implement delivery and take-away options in order to maintain their income.

Pin transactions in the Netherlands

Given the popularity of debit-card payments in the Netherlands, the data represents a large share of the Dutch population. Debit card transactions are often used as a reliable measure of consumer behavior and sales. This is not only true for the retail sector, since debit cards are also the primary payment method in the hospitality and service industry.

Consumer spending change on food in the Netherlands due to the coronavirus in 2020 compared to 2019, by category

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Release date

April 2020



Survey time period

March and April 2020

Supplementary notes

Data is based on electronic payment transactions. The source mentions that the yearly change could also be due to an increase of electronic payments in 2020 compared to 2019.

* April 17-20

**In-store and online shopping

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