Malta registered an unprecedented drop in household spending during 2020, falling by 22 per cent over 2019 levels. The drop is the highest in the European Union, which had an average of 8 per cent.
Croatia, Spain and Greece followed with drops of around 16 per cent, with the lowest decrease in household spending registered in Slovakia and Denmark, where it declined by two to three per cent.
Declines in household spending were registered in the entire EU, as well as in European Economic Area (EEA) countries Iceland, Switzerland and Norway, and were caused by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fall in consumption registered by Malta is the highest ever recorded by Eurostat, the European statistics agency that released the figures.
Eurostat defines consumption expenditure as “what people, acting either individually or collectively, spend on goods and services to satisfy their needs and wants.”
It noted that consumption expenditure can be a way of measuring economic well-being, as the more people can consume the higher their level of economic well-being, though it also notes that “the relationship between the two is not a linear one.”
According to Eurostat, social-distancing measures, government restrictions imposed on the movement of people and non-essential economic activities all severely affected spending.
The biggest drop in expenditure during 2020 was seen among restaurants and hotels, with household consumption expenditure for this category falling by 37.8 per cent of total expenditure.
Clothing and footwear was also hard hit, dropping by 17.3 per cent, followed closed by transport, recreation and culture.
Malta also recorded the lowest levels of spending on ‘housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels’, thanks to state control on electricity prices. Total spending in the area was 16.8 per cent, in line with that spent in Lithuania and Cyprus.
Meanwhile, expenditure on such items doubled in Slovakia.
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