TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japanese households increased their spending for the first time in four months in December, with more expenditure on electric appliances, and an extra national holiday in the reporting month compared with a year earlier, also playing a role.
Spending by households with two or more people rose 0.1 percent from a year earlier to 329,271 yen ($3,000), according to data released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.
Expenditure increased on so-called white goods such as refrigerators and washing machines, as well as new cars, mobile phones, clothing and footwear, while spending on utilities and food decreased, according to the data.
Household spending is a key indicator for private consumption, which accounts for nearly 60 percent of Japan's gross domestic product.
The average income of salaried households with at least two people after adjusting for inflation and including the winter bonus gained a real 2.3 percent to 1,026,628 yen.
For the whole of 2018, average monthly spending by households with two or more members declined 0.4 percent from the previous year to 287,315 yen, the fifth straight year of decline.
Spending decreased 1.5 percent on food such as fish and vegetables, 1.6 percent on clothing and by 2.4 percent on entertainment.
"Annual (spending) data basically saw a downward trend as the number of households continues to decline," as a result of Japan's ageing population, said a ministry official who briefed reporters.