Economy - Figures

Trade, accommodation and food services

In 2018, the retail sector achieved 3.4 percent higher turnover, the second highest growth rate after 2007. Turnover growth stood at 4.2 percent in 2017. Sales were up by 2.9 percent. Shops selling foodstuffs as well as shops in the non-food sector had higher turnover in 2018. In the latter sector, shops selling DYI products, kitchens and flooring and furniture shops benefited most notably from the revival in the housing market. Turnover at drugstores and clothes shops was up year-on-year as well.

In 2018, online sales rose by 18 percent year-on-year. Mail order and webshops showed 13 percent growth. There was stronger growth in online turnover of shops selling online as a side activity (i.e. multi-channel retailers), namely 26 percent.

Online retail in the Netherlands has boomed in recent years, although the growth has levelled off slightly. In 2018, the year-on-year increase was lower for the third consecutive year. The growth rate was still 22.1 percent in 2015 but this contracted to 17.9 percent in 2018.

Webshops – selling goods and/or services over the internet as their core business – display a similar trend. In 2018, retailers with internet sales as a side activity (for example multi-channel retailers) did achieve higher online turnover at 26.3 percent, the highest growth rate over the past five years.

Wholesale trade achieved 4 percent year-on-year turnover growth in 2018. A higher oil price boosted turnover in the petroleum and gas trade by more than 16 percent. Just as in 2017, turnover of building materials was up by 8 percent. In the manufacturing sector, demand was up for raw materials and machinery. Chemical trading turnover grew by over 4 percent, while suppliers of industrial machinery recorded nearly 5 percent higher turnover. Grain merchants had almost 5 percent lower turnover than in 2017.

In 2018, turnover in the automobile and motorcycle industry rose for the fourth consecutive year. At 4.4 percent, the increase was almost the same as in 2017. Automotive trade and repair recorded the highest increase at 6.5 percent. Turnover rose partly due to higher sales of new passenger cars (7 percent). In the heavy-duty commercial vehicle and specialised automotive repair industries, turnover increased by around 5 percent. In 2017, turnover in the heavy-duty commercial vehicle industry still showed a decline.

Importers of new passenger cars had 2 percent higher turnover last year against 5.5 percent in 2017. Turnover in motorcycle trade and repair was also up, by over 2 percent. Turnover growth in the industry for automotive parts was almost the same as in 2017, namely 0.2 percent.

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In the period 2008–2018, turnover in the sector accommodation and food services increased by 36 percent. The volume of refreshments and overnight stays was 5 percent up on 2008. Fast food restaurants saw the strongest growth in this period, by more than 60 percent. Cafés, canteens and caterers sold fewer refreshments. Turnover developments in the accommodation and food services sector are mainly the result of price increases; increased sales play a minor role.

Turnover of fast food restaurants (including cafeterias, ice-cream parlours and food stands) rose continually between 2008 and 2018, by an average 5 percent annually. The volume of refreshments sold went up each year by nearly 3 percent on average.

Between 2008 and 2018, turnover in accommodation services rose by 41 percent; the number of overnight stays grew by 10 percent. Both turnover and the number of nights spent in hotels, bungalow parks and at campsites have increased each year since 2010.

In 2018, accommodation services reached a record number of nearly 117 million overnight stays. This was 5 percent up on the previous year and 22 percent up on 2013. Over this five-year period, the number of nights spent by foreign guests rose by 49 percent while Dutch guests spent 8 percent more nights.


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