French household’s services consumption is in excellent shape


In recent years there has been a substitution between consumption of goods and consumption of services. This substitution even accelerated after Covid, with inflation accelerating, and is expected to continue in the coming years. Thus, while consumption of goods has declined since the beginning of 2022, this deterioration is partly due to this substitution effect and not to a reduction in household spending, since total consumption is higher than its pre-inflation level (end 2021).


During the last 10 years, the consumption of French households has changed: it has seen the rise of services.

According to Insee figures, consumption of services would have exceeded consumption of goods for the first time 20 years ago. However, in its calculation of household consumption, the Insee includes imputed rents to owner households, in order to take into account the welfare of not having to pay rent. If these imputed rents are removed from consumption data, to consider only what households actually spend, the consumption of services is still lower today than the consumption of goods.

However, while there was little change in the breakdown of expenditure in terms of volumes between 2004 and 2014 (56% for goods, 44% for services), this breakdown has changed during the last 10 years, a movement that started before Covid, as a result of uberisation, with in particular the development of the home delivery of catering products.

A movement interrupted by the Covid, when lockdowns led households to increase their consumption in stores. Finally, following the end of health restrictions and the acceleration of inflation, the pre-Covid movement resumed and intensified.

In the first quarter of 2024, consumption of services reached almost the same level as it would have reached if its pre-Covid growth (0.5% per quarter) had continued unabated after 2019: in other words, the impact of the pandemic is thus completely erased. On the other hand, consumption of goods is more than 5% below its pre-Covid trend.

Services now account for 48.7% of total household consumption, a record proportion. This growth in services is likely to continue, as the substitution effect is likely to spread further, for example in transports. At this pace, French households should well consume more services than goods by 2026.