Financial experts consider consumer spending as the total amount of money an individual spends on various goods and services for their household, personal use, and enjoyment. A great number of economists also 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 Current Consumer Spending Statistics
- The average American spends $1,497 each month on non-essentials.
- In 2018, consumers spent $61,224 on average.
- Consumer spending makes up approximately 70% of the US economy.
- The lowest 20% of income consumers spent about 40% of their income on housing in 2018.
- Every year, the average American household spends $4,464 on groceries and $3,459 on eating out.
- Domestic travelers have spent $972 billion in 2019.
- The consumer spending 2018 report reveals that the average income before taxes in the US was $78,635.
- American households pay $1,412 a year, on average, for electricity.
- Canadians spend CA$8,530 (USD$6,078) annually on food.
- Women are responsible for 70% to 80% of all consumer purchasing decisions.
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
1. The average American spends $1,497 each month on non-essentials.
Various subscription boxes, services, eating out, and cable can cost the average American up to $18,000 per year. Even though these non-essentials may seem 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?
2. The consumer spending 2018 report reveals that the average annual income before taxes in the US was $78,635.
Compared to previous years, the average annual income has increased by 6.9%, with people spending the majority of their income on housing, transportation, food, personal insurance, healthcare, entertainment, cash contributions, and education.
3. In 2018, consumers spent $61,224 on average.
Compared to the average consumer spending levels from the previous year, the United States consumer spending statistics reveal that this is a 1.9% increase.
In addition to this, the report also shows that the consumer price index (CPI-U) has also risen by 2.4%, and the US economy also saw a 6.9% rise in the average pretax income.
4. Consumer spending makes up approximately 70% of the US economy.
This consumer spending is divided into two major categories — non-discretionary spending, which the consumer spending report defines as buying essential things like food, clothing, housing, and medicine, and discretionary spending, or the purchase of non-essential services and goods.
5. As of Q4 2019, personal consumption expenditures (PCE) have accumulated to $14.799 trillion.
During the same quarter, the GDP was $21.542 trillion, and consumer spending in both services and goods has increased, according to the US consumer spending 2019 report.
People spent most of their money on food, vehicles, recreational goods, as well as personal care, housing, and utilities.
6. The lowest 20% of income consumers spent about 40% of their income on housing in 2018.
On the other hand, consumer units that belong to the highest 20% of income spent significantly less — 29.9%.
In addition, the customer demographics also reveal that the lowest 20% spent only 2.7% on personal insurance and pensions, whereas the statistics on consumer spending by income level show that the highest 20% spent a staggering 16.9% on the same category.
7. During 2018, 9 out of the 10 largest components of household spending have increased.
Out of all the largest components, personal insurance and pensions expenditures had the largest rise — 7.8% increase, and food cost percentage also rose by 2.5%.
However, one category saw a substantial decrease. Namely, consumers spent 5.6% less on education.
Consumer Spending Categories
8. Every year, the average American household spends $4,464 on groceries and $3,459 on eating out.
If you want to know how much to budget for food, you should also be aware that the average grocery bill varies majorly from city to city.
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, as consumer spending trends from 2019 reveal.
What’s more, the average annual USA spending also includes $583 on alcoholic beverages, both in restaurants and at home.
9. Americans spent $3,226 on entertainment in 2018.
Different fees, tickets to concerts, movies, and sports events make up the majority of spending for this category — $766. This spending category also includes purchasing toys, electronics, and equipment for hobbies like cameras, bicycles, video games, and so on.
10. The average American consumer spends $91, on average, for cable on a monthly basis.
Consumer spending online statistics show that even though 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 also spends $23 on various app subscriptions.
11. 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.
12. 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.
In addition to this, consumer spending statistics show that the average US household also pays $614 for water service and $410 for natural gas.
All of the utilities, fuels, and public services cost the average household about $4,049 annually.
13. Women are responsible for 70% to 80% of all consumer purchasing decisions.
Women may make up only half of the US population, but their buying decisions dominate the market. Research has discovered that 70% of travel consumers are women, and according to the latest female consumer spending statistics, 94% of women aged 15–35 spend more than an hour a day shopping online.
Additionally, women are also top homebuyers, right after married couples.
14. 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 their money on grooming and beauty products.
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.
15. Annually, Americans aged 25–64 spend, on average, $1,368 on cell phone services.
The average monthly cell phone service in the US cost $114 back in 2018, culminating with over $1,300 for the whole year.
Compared to this, the average monthly phone bill in the UK is $47, meaning that Americans pay $67 more per month or $804 per year.
Global Consumer Spending Trends and Stats
16. Estimates show consumer spending will increase by 1.7% in 2020.
Research shows that the global growth projections have slowly lowered since mid-2018. Nevertheless, they are now at a steady 2.5%, and it’s projected that they’ll rise to 2.6% in 2021.
Also, studies predict a 1.6% US growth in 2021, whereas mainland China’s growth is expected to fall to 5.8% in both 2020 and 2021, according to the consumer spending forecast from 2019.
17. Canadians spend CA$8,530 (USD$6,078) annually on food.
Despite the recent downturn of the Canadian dollar and the rise in food prices, food retail has remained one of the largest industries in Canada. In 2018 alone, food and beverage retail store sales resulted in USD$88.41 billion in revenue.
However, due to the rise in food prices, about 35% of households in 2019 had difficulties affording food, according to the Canadian consumer spending statistics.
18. In 2018, UK consumers spent £226 billion (over $280 billion) on catering, drink, and food.
In a little over a decade, the total consumer expenditure on food, catering, and drink grew by 2.8%. Expenditure on food, including both food and non-alcoholic drinks, grew by 3.4%.
In addition to this, the expenditure on alcoholic drinks grew by 3.3%, while the expenditure on catering grew by 1.7%, according to consumer spending in the UK statistics.
19. In the first three quarters of 2019, Chinese consumers spent 15,464 yuan (roughly $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. Compared to the same period of the previous year, this was an 8.3% nominal increase, or 5.7% real increase.
Additionally, Chinese consumers spent the most on housing — 20,379 yuan ($2,873), and as consumer spending statistics reveal, food tobacco and liquor were the next on the list, with 4,310 ($607) yuan per capita.
20. The average Japanese household spent 287,173 yen (approximately $2,647) in January 2020.
(Statistics Bureau of Japan)
This is a 3.1% nominal decrease, and a 3.9% real decrease, compared to the same period of the previous year.
However, the average monthly income per household grew by 2.9% in nominal terms, and 2.1% in real terms, and was 484,697 yen ($4,468).
Are consumers spending more?
Consumer spending is responsible for 70% of US economic growth. This percentage has been increasing since 1969 when it was 59.9%.
Some industries like newspapers and store-based retailers may be in recession due to the increase in online retail, but the overall consumer spending is growing.
How much did consumers spend in 2019?
In the fourth quarter of 2019, personal expenses were estimated at $14.799 trillion, which was an increase compared to the previous year.
What are consumers spending money on?
Americans are by far some of the biggest spenders. They spend most on housing and vehicles. Food is third on the list, and life insurance and pension savings follow.
Unfortunately, Americans spend the least of their money on health insurance and savings.
How much do consumers spend each year?
In January 2017, total consumer expenditure was $12.4 trillion. This number rose to $13.8 trillion in the first quarter of 2019, and it grew furthermore to $13.1 trillion in Q3 of 2019.
These consumer spending statistics 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 numbers will help you in making the right decision for your future.