Consumer spending fell by 4.2% in quantitative terms and by 2.8% in value terms in September compared to the same month in 2011, retailers' association Confcommercio said on Thursday.
Italians cut back particularly on transport and food, drink and tobacco, with Confcommercio's consumer spending index respectively registering a drop of 20.5% and 5.7% in quantitative terms and of 10.6% and 2.8% in value terms compared to September last year. 'The progressive decline in disposable income, linked to the continuation of a negative economic situation, compounded by continual tax increases, has presumably led families to adopt extremely cautious spending models,' Confcommercio said. 'Overall in the period January-September 2012 the index registered a fall of 2.7% compared to the first nine months of 2011, confirming that 2012 will be characterised by an exceptional drop in real consumption'. Consumer associations Federconsumatori and Adusbef said that 'the figures had been predicted for months' and anticipated a 5% drop in consumer spending by the end of the year.
Italian farmers' confederation Cia said 'two out of three families only make it to the end of the month by cutting back on spending, including food'. Likewise Codacons said 'at least one third of Italian families are no longer able to buy all the food they need. Such low levels of pro capita food consumption haven't occurred since the 1970s'.