A great number of economists consider consumer spending to be the driving force behind every country’s economy, and consumer spending statistics confirm this. Being the “demand” side of the “supply and demand” chain, consumer spending is the essential short-run determinant of economic performance, and thus incredibly important for any business.
Keep reading to discover more about the driving force behind consumerism, how much people spend, and what they buy the most.
But first, let’s take a look at some of the most intriguing figures:
Top 10 Facts and Consumer Spending Statistics for 2021
- In Q1 2021, consumer spending increased by 10.7%.
- In March 2021, the personal consumption expenditures grew by 4.2%.
- Consumer spending makes up approximately 70% of the US economy.
- Americans spend about $1,604 per year on clothing.
- 63% of Americans decided to cut back on spending amidst the coronavirus outbreak.
- Women are responsible for 70% to 80% of all consumer purchasing decisions.
- Consumer spending examples show almost two-thirds of consumer spending goes on real estate and health care services.
- The average American spends $1,497 each month on non-essentials.
- Consumer spending witnessed a decline of $3.3 trillion due to the pandemic.
- Spain had a 70% decrease in spending on clothing and footwear due to COVID-19.
If these haven’t sparked your curiosity yet, then scroll down and read more about the US spending habits, the average American budget, and how consumer spending reflects the global consumer economy.
US Consumer Spending Statistics
What can we learn about American’s spending habits?
Let’s find out!
1. Consumer spending accounts for the majority of gross domestic products (GDP) in the US.
Consumer spending is the most dominant component when it comes to calculating the gross domestic products (GDP) under the expenditure — namely, to calculate a country’s GDP, you need to use the expenditure method. That said, the consumer expenditure formula looks like this: GDP = C + I + G + (X − M).
To elaborate, C represents consumer spending on goods and services. I stands for investor spending on business capital goods, whereas G constitutes government spending on public goods and services. That leaves us with X, which equals exports, and M, which equals imports.
2. Consumer spending in 2021 (Q1) increased by 10.7%.
Due to the reopening of businesses in the first quarter of 2021, the personal consumption expenditures amounted to $15 trillion. In other words, there was an increase of 10.7% compared to the stats from 2020.
In addition, the increase was also notable in spending on durable goods (23.6%), especially automobiles, and nondurable goods (14.4%), such as groceries. Hence a lot of Americans are exploring freelance opportunities.
3. Current consumer spending statistics show that in March 2021, personal consumption expenditures grew by 4.2% ($616 billion).
The PCE growth could primarily be seen in spending for goods ($403 billion) and spending for services ($213.1 billion).
This was significant growth compared to previous months, i.e., −0,6% in December (2020), 3.4% in January (2021), and −1.0% in February (2021).
There was also a growth in personal income (21.1%) and disposable personal income (23.6%), among other notable income statistics.
4. Consumer spending in July 2020 increased by a mere 1.9%.
Consumer spending resembled a roller coaster in 2020, starting from month-to-month changes in personal income that constantly varied. For example, in December, personal income increased by 0.6% after decreasing by −1.3% in November and −0.6% in October.
The same thing happened after the −1.1% decline in June and the −4.4% decline in May; namely, the income grew by 0.4%.
5. In 2019, consumers spent $63,036 on average.
Compared to the average consumer spending levels from the previous year, the US consumer spending 2019 report revealed a 3% increase.
In addition to that, the report shows that the consumer price index (CPI-U) has also risen by 1.8%. Likewise, the US economy also saw a 5.4% rise in the average pretax income.
6. Consumer spending makes up approximately 70% of the US economy.
Consumer spending is divided into two major categories. The first being non-discretionary spending, which the consumer spending report defines as buying essential things like food, clothing, housing, and medicine. And the second being discretionary spending, or the purchase of non-essential services and goods.
7. The lowest 20% of income consumers spent about 40.2% of their income on housing in 2019.
On the other hand, consumer units that belong to the highest 20% of income spent significantly less — 29.9%.
Customer demographics also reveal that the lowest 20% spent merely 2.2% on personal insurance and pensions. In contrast, the latest statistics on consumer spending by income level show that the highest 20% spent a staggering 16.3% on the same category.
8. 6 in 10 Americans changed their shopping and spending habits permanently due to the pandemic.
Amidst the pandemic, consumers spent less money on movies (49%), luxury goods (46%), video games (42%), clothes (42%), and entertainment (41%) and more money on groceries (41%), self-care products (23%), bills (22%), takeout (22%), and healthcare (20%).
What’s more, a recent consumer expenditure survey questionnaire highlights that 14% of people used their credit cards for panic buying (mostly toilet paper, drinking water, cleaning supplies, and hand sanitizers). Generally, 28.3% of Americans used credit cards to cover most expenses.
9. 63% of Americans decided to cut back on spending amidst the coronavirus outbreak.
The main reasons behind this decision were being more cautious with finances (60%), reduced salary or income (49%), staying at home (40%), and job loss (17%).
In fact, $4.2 trillion is the total consumer debt in America, according to Federal Reserve statistics.
10. As per consumer spending statistics from 2020, Americans increased their spending on groceries (20%) and household supplies (3%) as a direct response to COVID-19.
The most popular groceries were vegetarian and vegan products. For instance, oat milk witnessed a massive 300% increase in sales, followed by meat substitutes (200%).
Nevertheless, there was also a notable decrease in jewelry sales (−50%), accessories (−47%), out-of-home entertainment (−47%), furnishing and appliances (−39%), and footwear (−39%).
11. Consumer spending is expected to increase by 6.9% during 2021.
(S&P Global Ratings)
The consumer spending forecast for 2021 looks bright. The risk of recession is much lower (10%–15%), and it’s generally believed that the real GDP will grow by 6.5% in 2021 and 3.1% in 2022.
The reason being, many US households had to cancel their vacations due to the pandemic which led to increased savings. In fact, many Americans used that money to pay off their debts.
For instance, in January 2021, consumer credit and credit card debt decreased by 0.4%, i.e., 12.2%.
Consumer Spending Categories
How much money do American households spend on day-to-day habits, and what is their average budget?
Take a look below and find out!
12. Americans spend $1,860 per year on health and fitness.
(Motley Fool) (Finder)
Namely, the vast majority of this money is spent on gym memberships.
To be precise, 19.6% of gym-goers spend under $30 on monthly memberships; 9.9% give between $31–$50; 2.9% spend around $51–$70; 1.1% spend $71–$90, and merely 0.9% will spend over $91 for a monthly gym membership.
On that note, Americans throw away $1.13 billion each year on unused gym memberships. There are currently 73.6 million health club members in the US (as of 2019), according to the latest gym membership statistics.
13. The average American spends $1,497 each month on non-essentials.
(Digital Hub) (Motley Fool)
What do consumers spend the most money on? Well, various subscription boxes, services, eating out, and cable for the most part. In fact, these things can cost the average American up to $18,000 per year.
What’s more, despite these non-essentials appearing cheap, they can cost a person more than a million dollars over the course of their lifetime.
So, what does the average American make if they can afford to spend so much on non-essentials? $87,864, according to recent figures.
14. Every year, the average American household spends $4,464 on groceries and $3,459 on eating out.
What do consumers spend the most money on besides non-essentials? In short — food.
Yet, if you want to know just how much to budget for food, you should take into account that the average grocery bill varies from city to city.
For example, an in-depth analysis of 22 large metropolitan areas has revealed that citizens of Seattle pay the most for their groceries — $6,195 per year, per household, according to consumer spending trends from 2019.
What’s more, the average annual USA spending also includes $583 on alcoholic beverages, both in restaurants and at home.
15. US consumers spend an average of $2,564 annually on entertainment.
(ValuePenguin) (Space Coast Daily)
In 2020, there was an increase in average daily time spent on digital media by 21%. Moreover, in-home media services that provide entertainment witnessed the largest growth.
Consumer spending examples also show that there was a spike in online gaming and gambling site visits. To be precise, during 2020, Americans spent over $1.5 billion on digital entertainment transactions.
16. American households pay, on average, $1,412 a year for electricity.
The average monthly electric bill is approximately $118, with Hawaii having the highest monthly average (over $168), which amounts to more than $2,016 per year.
Furthermore, recent consumer spending statistics show that the average US household pays $614 for water service and $410 for natural gas.
Overall, utilities, fuels, and public services cost the average household about $4,049 annually.
17. Americans spend about $1,604 per year on clothing.
(ValuePenguin) (The Shift)
That’s approximately $134 per month. Based on the given data, American women are the biggest spenders; they spend about $2,000 per year on clothing.
Besides these fast fashion stats, Americans also spend an average of $51 per month, i.e., $608 per year, on personal products — from manicures and haircuts to cosmetics.
18. The United States consumer spending statistics show almost two-thirds of consumer spending goes on real estate and health care services.
Real estate and health care are the leading services, followed by financial services (insurance, banking, investments, etc.), and cable and internet services.
That said, one-third of the personal consumption expenditure goes on durable goods (like automobiles, washing machines, furniture) and nondurable goods (like groceries, clothing, gasoline).
19. The average American consumer spends $91, on average, for cable every month.
Consumer spending online statistics show that although Americans still watch cable TV, they also spend an additional $23 for TV and film streaming services, as well as $22 on music streaming services.
Additionally, the average American consumer spends $23 on various app subscriptions.
20. Domestic travelers spent $972 billion in 2019.
(US Travel Association)
Compared to the previous year, this is a 4.4% increase. Both domestic and international travelers spent more than $1.1 trillion in the US, as consumer discretionary spending statistics reveal.
Consequently, this spending supported over 9 million jobs, with $277 billion in incomes and $180 billion in tax revenues for local, state, and federal governments.
21. American consumers pay $50.17 each month for cell phone plans.
Americans pay $147.38 per month, on average, on telecommunications costs that include streaming services ($39.96 per month), internet services ($57.25 per month), and cell phone plans ($50.17 per month).
Based on these consumer spending statistics, Americans spend $1,768.56 per year on telecommunication costs alone.
22. Women are responsible for 70% to 80% of all consumer purchasing decisions.
Women make up only half of the US population, yet their buying decisions dominate the market. Research has discovered that 70% of travel consumers are, in fact, women.
Despite paying more than men for some products (due to outrageous pink taxes), 85% of women will stay loyal to the brand they like.
Likewise, the latest female consumer spending statistics suggest that 94% of women aged 15–35 spend more than an hour a day shopping online.
23. African-American consumers spend over $1 trillion annually.
Surveys found that African-American consumers are 42% more likely than any other consumer group to respond to mobile ads. Furthermore, the research reveals that they also spend most of their money on grooming and beauty products.
For instance, as black consumer spending statistics show, they spend $573.6 million annually on soap and bath needs, which is 19% more than any other consumer group.
24. Americans spend an average of $2,473 on their cars per year.
Residents of North Dakota spend the most money on their cars — $5,318 per year, i.e., $2,392 for annual spending on motor vehicles and parts, $2,498 for gasoline, and $428 for car insurance.
Empire Staters (New York) pay the least — $2,679, i.e., $1,061 for annual spending on motor vehicles and parts, $634 for gasoline, and $984 for car insurance.
In addition, new car loan statistics reveal that there were 115.98 million car loans in the US alone.
Global Consumer Spending Trends
What do the statistics tell us about other countries? Who spends the most, and how did COVID-19 reflect the global consumer economy?
Let’s find out!
25. Consumer spending witnessed a decline of $3.3 trillion due to the pandemic.
Asia (except for China) and Europe saw the most significant declines in customer spending of −$1.1 trillion, i.e., −$1 trillion, followed by North and South America (−$0.8 trillion and −$0.3 trillion, respectively) and Africa (−$0.1 trillion).
26. Based on the consumer expenditure survey microdata, most countries planned to reduce their holiday spending in 2020.
When it comes to holiday spending figures, 71% of consumers from Indonesia planned to spend less money, compared to 16% that planned on spending more. The situation was similar in other countries, as well — from Mexico (69% vs. 12%) and Brazil (65% vs. 11%) to Italy (54% vs. 6%) and Spain (55% vs. 7%).
On the other hand, China was the only country where people planned to spend more money during the holidays (25% vs. 29%).
27. Canadian consumer spending statistics show the average grocery bill per person is $214 per month.
(Good Times) (Statista)
Canadians spend $2,568 (per person) on food per annum. The most popular stores for shoppers are Walmart, where 49.7% of Canadians do their shopping, Real Canadian Superstore (35.66%), and Costco (34.57%).
28. In 2019, UK consumers spent £234 billion ($330 billion) on catering, drink, and food.
According to consumer spending in the UK statistics, in 2019, the total consumer expenditure on food, catering, and drink grew by 2.5%. Spending on food increased by 2.1%, whereas spending on alcoholic beverages and catering rose by 3.1%.
29. In the first three quarters of 2019, Chinese consumers spent 15,464 yuan ($2,180) on average.
(NBS of China)
The average income per capita for this period was 22,882 yuan ($3,226) — a 6.1% increase from the previous year. Likewise, consumer spending statistics suggest this was an 8.3% nominal increase, or 5.7% real increase, compared to the same period of the previous year.
Chinese consumers spent the most on housing — 20,379 yuan ($2,873). Food, tobacco, and liquor were the next on the list, with 4,310 ($607) yuan per capita.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise seeing how recent China economic growth statistics indicate that the Asian country is the only country to reverse the economic effects of COVID-19.
30. Spain had a 70% decrease in clothing and footwear spending due to COVID-19, a consumer expenditure survey from 2020 suggests.
When it comes to non-food categories, Spanish households reported a decrease in spending on clothing and footwear (70%), restaurant food pickup/delivery (62%), sports equipment and outdoor (61%), and office equipment (49%).
Moreover, Spanish households spent the most money on house improvements in the same year. The average expenditure amounted to more than €3,000 ($3,636).
31. Statistics on consumer spending reveal that the average Japanese household spent 309,800 yen ($2,849) in March 2021.
(Statistics Bureau of Japan)
This is a 6.0% nominal increase, and a 6.2% real increase, compared to the same period last year.
However, the average monthly income per household decreased by 1.2% in nominal terms and 1.0% in real terms, amounting to 484,914 yen ($4,459).
What percent of the economy is consumer spending?
About 70% of the US economy is associated with consumer spending. There are two main categories of consumer spending: non-discretionary spending (groceries, medicine, clothing, housing) and discretionary spending (non-essential goods and services).
When it comes to purchases, Americans spend most of their money on rent or mortgage (31.5%), groceries (8.6%), entertainment (8.1%), and utilities (5.3%).
In 2020, consumer expenditures amounted to $14.5 trillion.
Is consumer spending increasing?
US consumer spending is rising. In the first quarter of 2021, consumer spending in the US increased by 10.7%. There was a 23.6% increase in spending on goods (both durable and nondurable).
To be precise, spending on durable goods had a massive growth of 41.4%, followed by a 14.4% growth in spending on nondurable goods and a 4.6% increase in spending on services.
What’s more, personal consumption expenditures amounted to $15.0 trillion.
Are consumers spending more?
Despite the pandemic, consumer spending bounced back in March 2021 in the US due to the government stimulus checks. The middle and low-income households received $1,400, which improved their personal income by 21.1%.
Likewise, consumer spending grew by 4.2%, while retail sales increased by 9.8%.
By loosening up COVID-19 restrictions, the restaurant industry saw a 13.4% growth. The increase was also noted in spending on sporting goods (23.5%), clothing and accessories (18.3%), and motor vehicle parts and dealers (15.1%).
How much did consumers spend in 2019?
The average annual expenditures in 2019 amounted to $63,036. Compared to 2018 data, this was a 3.0% increase.
Transportation spending had the largest percentage of growth — 10.1%. Cash contributions took second place with a growth of 5.7%, followed by healthcare expenditures (4.5%), spending on food (3.1%), and housing expenditures (2.9%).
At the same time, entertainment (−4.2%) and personal insurance and pensions (−1.8%) witnessed the biggest decline.
What are consumers spending their money on?
American consumers spend most of their annual budget on housing ($10,080 per year), transportation ($9,004 per year), taxes ($7,432), utilities ($7,068), food ($6,602), and social security/personal insurance/pensions ($5,528).
8% of their annual budget goes on debt payments or savings, 6% is spent on healthcare, 4% on entertainment, 3% on cash contributions and apparel and services, and 2% goes for education.
How much do consumers spend each year?
The average yearly expenses in the US are increasing year by year. For example, in 2015, the average consumer expenditure amounted to $55,978. In 2016, Americans spent an overall of $57,311, and in 2017, their expenses reached $60,060.
Next, in 2018, US consumers spent an average of $61,224, while in 2019, the average consumer expenditure reached $63,036.
Consumer Spending Statistics Summary for 2021
These stats and facts on consumerism reveal just how important consumer spending is for the economy of a country. It can hold the economy back if the consumers’ trust is violated, or it can push it forward.
As household incomes are rising, so are impulse and luxury purchases. These spendings may help the economy, but the personal savings or credit score could suffer.
We hope that these consumer spending statistics and figures will help you in making the right decision for your future.
- Business Insider
- Digital Hub
- Motley Fool
- Motley Fool
- Good Times
- NBS of China
- PR Newswire
- Space Coast Daily
- S&P Global Ratings
- Statistics Bureau of Japan
- The Balance
- The Balance
- The Shift
- US Travel Association