Consumption expenditure Methodological notes on the special survey

The above results were taken from a special survey of consump­tion conduc­ted by the Federal Statistical Office on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Finance. The aim was to deter­mine what effect the measures taken under the econo­mic stimu­lus package 2020 had on house­holds. The focus was on whether and how the tempo­rary reduc­tion of value added tax (VAT) and the child bonus influen­ced the consump­tion behaviour of house­holds.

An external institute conduc­ted the monthly online surveys in the form of five waves from August to December 2020. Each month, roughly 4,200 people provi­ded infor­mation on their house­holds on a voluntary basis. Only house­holds that were entitled to children’s allowance in 2020 answered the questions relating to the child bonus.

The surveys used quota samples of repre­sentative house­holds, the respon­dents were aged 18 to 74 years. The micro­census 2019 served as a reference for the quotas and for extra­polation pur­poses. There are both samp­ling and non-sampling errors with this type of survey. Generally, it has to be noted that quota samp­les involve distor­tions of variables which are not part of the quotas and the extra­polation frame.

All data, inclu­ding income infor­mation, are based on respon­dents’ self-assess­ments. Respon­dents were asked how they intended to use this (additional) disposable house­hold income. What has actually been done with the money may differ from what respon­dents said they intended to do with it, and it may change in the course of time. This refers to the questions about both the VAT reduction and the child bonus. To what extent the measures of the economic stimulus package actually enhanced private consump­tion or reduced the financial burden on house­holds can there­fore not be directly inferred form the survey. It does not provide infor­mation on the amounts spent or saved under the measures of the economic stimulus package, either.

The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) condu­cted the survey on the basis of Section 3 (1) no. 16 of the Federal Statistics Act (BStatG).