Business World

Thursday 12 December 2019

Dutch consumer confidence tied to country's football team

Dutch fans in Brazil
Dutch fans in Brazil
Dutch fans in Brazil

DUTCH retailers were anxious for a win last night in the World Cup semi final between the Netherlands and Argentina.

The Netherlands, the only country to have lost all three of its soccer World Cup final games, may regain something locals haven't seen for seven years if the national team continues its unexpected winning streak in Brazil: positive consumer sentiment.

Dutch household confidence, which stood at minus 2 in June, could take a turn for the better if the Dutch make the final, market-research company GfK said before last night's semi final. Four years ago, sentiment rose by four points after the competition with 69pc of the population declaring themselves proud of "Orange," as the team is nicknamed, GfK Research Director Joop Holla said in a phone interview.

After turning this year's World Cup odds upside down with a 5-1 revenge victory against Spain in their opening game, the Dutch, led by coach Louis van Gaal and featuring star players Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie, are now just one win away from a fourth final.

"The World Cup is making me a bit more positive; I do go to bed with a better feeling," said Rakesh Mohamed, a 39-year- old soccer fan living in The Hague. Still, Mohamed's extra purchases are mainly drinks and snacks for home.

"It's not that I'm buying a new TV because of the World Cup."

Consumer sentiment in the Netherlands, the fifth-largest economy in the euro area, has been negative since October 2007. The nation has suffered three recessions since the start of the global financial crisis, and consumers saw the value of their homes plunge by more than 20pc.

Even before the World Cup, though, an improvement was in sight. Confidence improved to minus 2 in June from minus 12 at the start of the year.

"As we're now at the inflection point, this could be the impulse to go from negative to positive," GfK said.

The Dutch do have a little bit more money to spend.

Households' disposable income rose 0.2pc in the first quarter from the same period in 2013, the first hike in two years. The subdued sentiment was reflected in the slow purchase of World Cup-related items in the early stages of the competition.

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