Consumer Spending: Figures in Costa Rica

In recent decades, the behavior of consumer spending has varied in the country, and in 2018 food-related expenditures represented an average of 32% of total household expenditures, and expenditures associated with transport and communications represented 22%.

Friday, November 15, 2019

The National Institute of Statistics and Censuses presented the results of the 2018 National Household Income and Expenditure Survey, which specifies the main destinations of household spending in the country.

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The document reviews that ".... When breaking down the relative importance of the several consumption groups within household expenditure, the highest percentage corresponds to the group of "Food and non-alcoholic beverages" with 24.0%, followed in importance by "Transport" (15.7%), "Housing, water, electricity and gas" (12.1%), "Restaurants and hotels" (7.1%), "Miscellaneous goods and services" (7.1%), "Recreation and culture" (6.5%) and "Communications" (6.2%).

The remaining groups ("Furniture and articles for the home and home maintenance", "Health", "Education", "Clothing and footwear" and "Alcoholic beverages, tobacco and narcotics") accounted for 21.3% of consumption expenditure.

The behavior of the distribution of consumption expenditure over the last 30 years has varied, as a result of the incorporation of new needs and tastes. While in 1988 food-related expenditure reached 40.1% of total consumer expenditure, in 2018 it reached 31.6%. On the other hand, expenses associated with transport and communications have almost doubled their relative share (from 11.6% in 1988 to 21.9% in 2018).

Finally, regarding the composition of income, there is a trend of loss in the relative weight of gross earnings from self-employment, which had a share of 22.6% in 1988, and rose to 14.2% in 2018. On the other hand, transfers received in cash have increased their weight within gross income, from 9.6% in 1988 to 14.7% in 2018.
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The increase reported at the end of the fourth quarter of 2017 is mainly explained by higher spending on final household consumption and higher gross capital formation.

From a report by the Central Bank of Costa Rica:

In the fourth quarter of 2017, economic activity, measured by the trend of the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP), grew at an annualized rate of 3.2%, in response, mainly, to higher spending on final household consumption and in gross capital formation.  In the year-on-year comparison, production registered a growth of 3.1%.    

Consumption Up in Panama

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During the first quarter of 2013, public sector consumption increased by 7.6%, while the private sector reported a 9.7% rise.

In the public sector, growth represented a total of $1,558 million in expenses. In the private sector, the increase in consumption was due to the collection of taxes on transfer of property and services.

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