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A monthly consumption indicator for Germany based on internet search query data

  • Torsten Schmidt
  • Simeon Vosen


In this study we introduce a new monthly indicator for private consumption in Germany based on search query time series provided by Google Trends. The indicator is based on unobserved factors extracted from a set of consumption-related search categories of the Google Trends application Insights for Search. The predictive performance of the indicator is assessed in real time relative to the European Commission’s consumer confidence indicator and the European Commission’s retail trade confidence indicator. In out-of-sample nowcasting experiments the Google indicator outperformed the surveybased indicators. In comparison to the other indicators, the new indicator also provided substantial predictive information on consumption beyond that already captured in other macroeconomic variables.

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Paper provided by Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen in its series Ruhr Economic Papers with number 0208.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rwi:repape:0208
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  1. Jason Bram & Sydney Ludvigson, 1997. "Does consumer confidence forecast household expenditure?: A sentiment index horse race," Research Paper 9708, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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  7. Schmidt, Torsten & Vosen, Simeon, 2009. "Forecasting Private Consumption: Survey-based Indicators vs. Google Trends," Ruhr Economic Papers 155, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
  8. Filippo Moauro & Giovanni Savio, 2005. "Temporal disaggregation using multivariate structural time series models," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 8(2), pages 214-234, 07.
  9. Niek J. Nahuis & W. Jos Jansen, 2003. "Which Survey Indicators Are Useful for Monitoring Consumption? Evidence fron European Countries," Macroeconomics 0309013, EconWPA.
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