Japan's household spending in August dropped 2.5 percent from a year earlier, declining for the sixth consecutive month, as rising prices prompted people to cut back on food and education-related outlays, government data showed Friday.
Households of two or more people spent an average of 293,161 yen ($1,975), the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said. The rate of decline was smaller than the 5.0 percent in July.
The continued weakness in spending came as real wages dropped 2.5 percent in August for the 17th consecutive month of decline, as the impact of rising prices outweighed that of salary increases, separate data from the labor ministry showed.
Food expenditure, accounting for around one-third of household spending, fell 2.5 percent, led by decreases in seafood, meat, dairy products and eggs amid rising prices. Outlays for education dropped 13.6 percent as cram school expenses fell.
Unusually hot weather dampened appetite for autumn clothes, pushing down spending on clothing by 5.9 percent. Purchases of pesticides also fell due to fewer mosquitos amid the heat, leading to a 5.1 percent drop in outlays for furniture and household goods category, the internal affairs ministry said.
Spending on medical supplies and services plunged 11.2 percent as the demand for face masks and thermometers decreased after the legal status of COVID-19 was downgraded to the same category as seasonal flu.
Meanwhile, outlays on entertainment grew 3.0 percent, lifted by an increase in travel as more people went out during summer vacations following the removal of coronavirus restrictions, with expenditures on overseas package tours jumping 54-fold.
The data is a key indicator of private consumption, which accounts for more than half of the country's gross domestic product.