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Ruhr Economic Papers #155


Torsten Schmidt, Simeon Vosen

Forecasting Private Consumption: Survey-based Indicators vs. Google Trends

In this study we introduce a new indicator for private consumption based on search query time series provided by Google Trends. The indicator is based on factors extracted from consumption-related search categories of the Google Trends application Insights for Search. The forecasting performance of the new indicator is assessed relative to the two most common survey-based indicators - the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index and the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index. The results show that in almost all conducted in-sample and out-of-sample forecasting experiments the Google indicator outperforms the survey-based indicators. This suggests that incorporating information from Google Trends may offer significant benefits to forecasters of private consumption.

ISBN: 978-3-86788-175-3

JEL-Klassifikation: C53, E21, E27

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