Japan’s average monthly household spending in 2014 fell at its fastest pace in eight years, down 3.2 percent in price-adjusted terms from the previous year to 251,481 yen ($2,121), the government said Tuesday.
Many households were reluctant to spend aggressively in the wake of price rises triggered by last April’s consumption tax hike and a weaker yen as well as bad weather last summer, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said.
The country’s household spending slid for the first time since 2011, when a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami devastated northeastern Japan, souring the outlook for the world’s third-biggest economy.
“Lower-income earners in particular became budget-minded and reduced expenditures,” an official at the ministry said.
In 2014, spending decreased 8.0 percent on education, 2.2 percent on food, 3.6 percent on entertainment, and 2.5 percent on furniture and other household items.
Average monthly spending by wage-earning families other than self-employed households in 2014 declined 3.1 percent to 280,809 yen, while average monthly income fell 3.2 percent to 468,367 yen.