Consumer Spending Statistics - Featured Image

53 Powerful Consumer Spending Statistics to Get You Shopping in 2020

Posted on |

Americans are known for many things, but being big savers is not one of them. In January 2020, the personal saving rate in the US was 7.9%. In 1960, it was 10.4%.

For decades, the voracious appetites of Americans for goods and services have been benefiting the economy. In fact, consumer spending is responsible for about 70% of the country’s gross domestic product.

The question is:

Will the real personal consumption expenditures of Americans continue to rise? Or will consumers begin to cut their budgets?

Let’s analyze the consumer spending statistics below to see how strong consumption has prevented the US economy from tanking and determine how sustainable this growth path can be.

Key Consumer Spending Trends (Editor’s Picks)

  • $11,750 is the annual housing expense of average Americans.
  • Women control up to 80% of household economic decisions.
  • Minorities command $3.9 trillion in purchasing power.
  • Non-Hispanic whites represent just 56% of the Millennial consumer base.
  • Two in every three consumers think that omnichannel customer service is getting better
  • Holiday spending has steadily risen almost every year since 2008.
  • 2020 Valentine’s Day was a historic day for retail, with an average planned consumer budget of $196.31.
  • Residents of Washington, DC need to make at least $6,660 a month to afford the District’s cost of living.

General Consumer Spending Statistics in the US

1. Americans spend $11,747 on shelter each year.

(HowMuch.net)

The 2018 average consumer spending breakdown also revealed that $9,761, $7,923, and $7,296 were spent on transportation, food, and insurance and pensions, respectively.

2. The average American household spends 73% of total income, which is equivalent to $53,708.

(Visual Capitalist)

The report about consumer spending by income level showed that gas and insurance make up 9% of all expenses, the second-largest category after housing.

3. The bottom 20% in the US have $25,525 in buying power and can’t make ends meet without getting cleaned out.

(Visual Capitalist)

In contrast, the top 20% consume roughly $100,000 worth of goods and services and still manage to save about $50,000 per year.

4. Between 2018 and 2019, 59% of Americans did not make any change in their budgets.

(Inc.)

Only one in every 10 consumers reduced their spending. On the other hand, 29% increased their expenditures during that 12-month period.

5. 25-year-olds shoulder the highest average daily consumer spending in the US, a burden they have to bear until the age of 34.

(CNBC)

Millennials are the most profligate generation. They have a tendency to overindulge in clothing and food.

6. The most recent data about consumer spending by state available revealed that Utahns expanded their budgets in 2018, with a PCE increase of 7.3% from 2017.

(Bureau of Economic Analysis)

Other residents in the West also recorded increases in consumer spending greater than the national average of 5.1%. Next to Utah, Washington had 6.8%, Colorado reported 6.1%, and California and Nevada both had 6%.

7. North Dakota led in holiday spending in 2019, with an estimated $1,394 worth of expenses per person.

(USA TODAY)

Although North Dakotans had the 15th-lowest value of a dollar last year, they were able to record impressive consumer expenditure data because of strong income. The Peace Garden State had the fourth-most real personal income per capita at $55,369.

8. Mississippians splashed out the least in the previous holiday season, with an average budget of $893 only.

(USA TODAY)

The frugality of the people of the Magnolia State was understandable, as it had second-lowest real person income per capita and lowest greenback value last year.

9. 2020 Valentine’s Day was historic for retail, with an average planned budget of $196.31 among consumers.

(National Retail Federation)

Compared to the 2019 number, the consumer spending rate for this year was estimated to jump by a whopping 21%. All in all, the coffers of flower, chocolate, and jewelry merchants, among others, swelled to the tune of $27.4 billion, which was 32% higher than the prior Valentine’s Day revenue.

10. 194 million Americans said they had planned to spend an average of $88.65 to experience the 2020 Super Bowl.

(National Retail Federation)

The grandest sporting event in the US was estimated to have injected a mind-blowing $17.2 billion into the economy. Other than food and beverages, merch and party supplies were some of the hottest commodities among fans.

11. The San Diego-Carlsbad Metro Area had a consumer price index (CPI) of 299.43 in 2019, which was the highest in the country.

(Statista)

At the other end of the spectrum, the urban consumers in the Tampa Bay Area recorded the lowest CPI with 228.13. The average of leading US metros last year was 255.66.

12. The ordinary American needs $83,790 per year to survive in the country’s most expensive major city, Seattle.

(Business Insider & Tampa Bay Times)

According to the stats about consumer spending in 2019, the average Tampan just needs 58% of the average Seattleite’s budget to live in Cigar City.

13. Residents of Washington, DC need to make at least $6,660 a month to afford the District’s cost of living.

(Business Insider)

The 2019 consumer spending by month figures say that the average Washingtonian needs to lay out $4,085 for housing, transportation, and food.

14. Better than predicted consumption helped accelerate US economic growth to 2% in Q3 2019.

(PYMNTS.com, China Daily, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis & HowMuch.net)

Judging by the stats about consumer spending by country, China is no different. The Asian nation owes its ongoing economic renaissance to soaring consumption. But Chinese consumers have been able to do this while being more disciplined savers than Americans.

15. Consumer spending slowed to 0.2% in January 2020, down from 0.4% in December 2019.

(Bureau of Economic Analysis, The Hill, The Balance, CNBC, TheStreet & Economicshelp.org)

As mentioned, consumer spending as a percentage of GDP in the US is nearly 70%. 

Now: 

The really bad news is that America has entered a recession halfway through March. An economic pundit from Bank of America, who announced the negative development, does not believe that the decline in the country’s GDP will last long, though.

However, the public may not witness a rosy consumer spending index soon. S&P 500, Dow Jones, and Nasdaq have taken a nosedive since the World Health Organization labeled the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus worldwide a pandemic.

What’s more:

Anemic stock markets erode people’s wealth and shatter confidence in the economy. The Trump administration’s ability to manage the COVID-19 outbreak will determine how fast American consumers could financially recover and feel motivated to begin splurging again.

16. According to the latest personal consumption expenditures data, US consumers spent $14.799 trillion by the end of 2019.

(The Balance)

Americans increased their spending on recreational goods, vehicles, housing, and utilities as well as legal and personal care services.

17. From November 2019 to January 2020, the PCE price index did not go over 1.7%.

(Bureau of Economic Analysis)

In short, not much inflation occurred one year prior to the said period. Even with slight price hikes involving commodities in the food and energy sectors, the overall cost of goods and services remained practically unchanged for American consumers.

18. In 2018, the average household spending in America, which was $61,224, rose by just 1.9% over the previous year.

(The Balance, Statista & PYMNTS.com)

It was the slowest growth since 2013 when the uptick in this category was just a paltry 0.7%. While American households were expected to have boosted their expenses in 2019, the acceleration in the annual consumer spending rate will not be anywhere near the numbers recorded in 2014, 2015, and 2017.

19. The consumer confidence index between January and February 2020 moved up by just 0.3 points, from 130.4 to 130.7.

(CNBC)

The result fell short of expectations. The biggest factor that dragged down the overall confidence of consumers was the less optimistic view of people toward the current business and labor landscape. The present situation index plummeted from 173.9 in January to 165.1 in February.

Consumer Spending Statistics - Weekend Sale

Consumer Spending Statistics by Gender

20. Anywhere between 70% and 80% of consumer spending is driven by women.

(Inc. & Bloomberg)

The majority of average household expenses go through female family members. Buying power does not only make women dominant economic decision-makers at home. They also command tremendous influence, which they use to affect purchases they do not have to fund themselves and reject ideas by others.

21. On average, unmarried men spend $1,232 more than unmarried women per year, $35,018 compared to $33,786.

(Louisiana Federal Credit Union)

However, these stats do not mean single ladies are more thrifty. Greater purchasing power is perhaps the primary reason why the US consumption statistics of single males appear to be bigger than their female counterparts.

The thing is:

In the US, men make about $10,000 more than women. So, at the end of the day, male still have more dough to burn.

22. Recent data on consumer spending by category say that the average woman is prepared to spend almost $715 on self-care every year.

(Louisiana Federal Credit Union)

In contrast, the average man is only willing to part ways with about $297 to buy personal care products.

23. Unsurprisingly, men drive personal transportation spending in the US, with a yearly expenditure of $5,507.

(Louisiana Federal Credit Union)

Although females spend $1,234 less per year than men in this category, updated women consumer spending statistics say that their auto insurance premiums are 200% more expensive than males.

24. When it comes to health care, women shell out over $200 more than men for medical services like doctor consultations per year.

(Louisiana Federal Credit Union)

The expenditures of both genders are practically identical in other health categories, though.

25. Male and female consumer spending statistics show that both sexes spend $190 on shoes every year.

(Louisiana Federal Credit Union)

The similarity between the clothing expenditures of men and women ends there, though. The $813 annual expense of men on apparel pales in comparison to women’s $1,140.

US Consumer Spending Statistics by Demographic Group

26. Non-Hispanic Whites make up only 56% of the American Millennial consumer base.

(Deloitte)

Having the greatest number in the population and pocketing the second-highest income among all demographic groups, Caucasians still have the most powerful buying power in the US.

But that may change over time, as the American consumer base is becoming more diverse and the incomes among ethnic and racial households continue to diverge.

27. Based on the 2018 consumer spending data, the purchasing power of minorities in the US was equivalent to a whopping $3.9 trillion.

(Newswise & Investopedia) 

The combined dollars of Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, and Native Americans were marginally bigger than the nominal GDP of Germany, Europe’s largest economy.

28. On average, the projected cumulative lifetime expenditure of a Hispanic household is $2,535,959, which is good enough to outspend White households by $538,636.

(GlobeNewswire)

Hispanic families are not just larger; they also have rising spending habits. With robust buying power, the second-largest demographic group in the US could easily drive future United States consumer spending statistics up.

29. Hispanics spend 17% more on soap as well as laundry and cleaning products than all other groups.

(GlobeNewswire)

Marketers of consumer packaged goods companies should take note of the eye-popping total consumer spending of Hispanic Americans on such commodities.

30. The annual apparel budget of Hispanics is 5% higher than that of the average US household.

(GlobeNewswire)

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Hispanic consumerism is more pronounced when it comes to specific subcategories.

Here’s the deal:

This group of consumers spends 28% more than the average household expense on purchasing clothing for children under the age of two as well as footwear for men, boys, and girls. In terms of men’s active sportswear, Hispanics exceed the expenditures of the average American by 25%.

31. The Hispanic demographic buys 18% motor oil and 9% coolants, brake and transmission fluids, and additives above the average.

(GlobeNewswire)

In addition, the group spends 15% and 13% less on lube change, among other vehicle services, and tune-ups, respectively.

These interesting consumer spending statistics suggest that Hispanics like DIY automobile activities, making them promising target consumers for auto aftermarket businesses.

32. By 2018, the purchasing power of Asian Americans, worth about $1 trillion, had soared by 267% since 2000.

(Newswise)

Indian Americans, the largest segment in the group, account for 28% of the pie, while their Chinese counterparts comprise 23%.

33. Asian Americans have 51.3 years of spending power, compared to the US average of 40.2. 

(Forbes)

The usually lengthy life expectancies of Asian Americans mean that they could sustain consumer spending growth by at least 11 years longer than any other demographic group in the country.

34. Almost nine in ten Asian Americans have made a purchase online in the past 12 months.

(Forbes)

Since they are 22% more likely to shop digitally than the rest of the population, they are influential drivers of consumer spending online statistics in the US.

35. Asian Americans are 96% more likely than any other US consumer group to buy computer software or hardware over the internet in a year.

(Forbes)

Considering that almost all of them own a mobile device and have internet access at home and nearly 90% of them have a computer, they are indeed tech trendsetters.

36. Collectively, the African American consumers in the US buy $1.2 trillion worth of goods and services every year, outspending every race in the country by 4%.

(Black Men in America.com)

What makes these black consumer spending statistics somewhat surprising is the fact that African Americans live in the highest rate of poverty.

37. Black consumers make up 85.65% of the market for the beauty aids and ethnic hair services category, which is valued at $63.5 million.

(Black Men in America.com)

To put things into perspective, African Americans make up only 14% of the US population.

38. In relation to the African American spending habits statistics above, one greenback circulates for six hours in a black community.

(Black Men in America.com)

In comparison, it would take 17, 20, and 30 days for a dollar to circulate in White, Jewish, and Asian communities, respectively.

American Consumerism Statistics in the Digital Age

39. During 2019 Black Friday, online sales outgrew brick-and-mortar store sales 19.6% to 1.6% from the prior year.

(The Balance)

Technically, both statistics about US consumer spending in 2019 above are positive. But retailers, if they want to stay afloat, must not underestimate the reality that more and more Americans are using digital shopping platforms.

40. A consumer spending report revealed that retailers on the west coast saw an 18% drop in foot traffic due to strong ecommerce penetration in 2018.

(Deloitte)

Curiously, Texas and the Southwest, despite recording an average ecommerce adoption rate of 20%, experienced 29% more physical store visits.

41. By May 2019, New York City spent the most dollars on food delivery per capita, at $773.7.

(Statista & Frontiers)

Based on the latest consumer spending statistics by city, completing the top five markets for food delivery are San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, and Miami.

Now:

Digital food ordering has become a massive $27 billion industry and expanded by an incredible 23% over the past four years. So, restaurants could expect fewer guests and more text- and internet-based orders moving forward.

42. Online holiday sales in the US grew by 13.6% in 2019.

(Digital Commerce 360)

This record-breaking year saw retailers rake in an estimated $138.65 billion during a five-day shopping spree, spanning from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday.

Due to rising ecommerce penetration, economists and marketers could reasonably expect the digital consumer spending statistics for the 2020 holidays to reach new heights.

Consumer Spending Statistics - Grocery Cart

Consumer Spending Trends in the US

43. Between 1941 and 2014, housing replaced food as the number one expense of Americans.

(Visual Capitalist)

75 years of US consumerism statistics underscored the uninterrupted increase in the cost of shelter, which ballooned from $7,537 (inflation-adjusted) in the early 1940s to $17,798 in the mid-2010s.

44. Annual healthcare spending in the US climbed considerably over the past seven decades, from less than $1,500 in 1941 to over $4,000 in 2014.

(Visual Capitalist)

According to stats about global consumer spending by year, health expenditure in the US and other high-income countries started to climb in 1970. But American life expectancy has not gone up as much as that in the rest of the developed world.

Check this out:

By 2014, Chileans, South Koreans, Greeks, Israelis, and Spaniards were living at least two years longer than Americans while spending two-thirds less on healthcare.

45. From 2007 to 2017, the cost of education rose by 65%.

(Deloitte)

Other non-discretionary expenditures such as transportation, housing, health care, and food also saw noticeable hikes throughout that period.

46. The number of homeowners in the US has dropped by 4%.

(Deloitte, Investopedia & CNBC)

It should not be surprising that the percentage of renters increased between 2007 and 2017 since it was during this period when the Great Recession happened and America’s student loan debt problem became a crisis.

Of course, the total consumer expenditure on real estate by Millennials, the primary property buyers of today, would drop due to weaker motivation to buy a house and greater difficulty in putting some money down because of more pressing financial obligations.

47. According to comprehensive consumer spending statistics by year, the net worth of 34-year-old adults and younger dropped from over $10,000 in 1995 to less than $8,000 in 2014.

(Deloitte)

The greater financial pressures Millennials have been dealing with could explain why most of them were not able to make milestone life purchases as early as their parents and grandparents did.

48. A November 2019 survey revealed that 66% of American adults believe that a recession is on the horizon.

(Inc. & Markets Insider)

Among the 10,372 respondents, 88% of Democrats and 45% of Republicans share the sentiment that the current consumer spending statistics will likely go down.

However, the glaring difference in opinion between the two groups makes it hard to determine the reason behind the prediction of a lower economic growth rate in the next 12 months. It could be a reflection of a decrease or increase in consumer spending plans made by the surveyed consumers or their hopes for the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election.

49. The buying power of the Asian American demographic is projected to hit $1.3 trillion by 2023.

(Inside Radio)

This group is already the most affluent in the US. And the status quo will persist due to the unwavering commitment of Asian Americans to education. Did you know that 52% of those who are at least 25 years old have a bachelor’s degree or higher?

50. Some of the latest US consumer spending data revealed that Native American spending power grew by 185% from 2000 to 2018.

(Newswise)

Although the collective greenbacks of these consumers were estimated to be just $115 billion two years ago, this number is bound to climb steadily in the foreseeable future.

Here’s why:

Rapid population growth and increased entrepreneurial activity have been deepening the pockets of Native American households.

51. The holiday spending plans of US consumers have increased steadily every year (except one) since the 2008 financial crisis.

(USA TODAY & CNBC)

After Americans decided to spend $17 less in 2016 than what they splurged the year before, the Christmas consumer spending statistics in the country have maintained their upward trajectory.

The average consumer planned to draw down $936 in 2016. It went up to $967 in 2017 and then $1,007 in 2018. Last year, the figure was projected at $1,048. Unless there’s another massive economic meltdown, the curve is unlikely to not flatten and will inch closer or past the $1,110 mark.

Now:

To put the holiday shopping mania in the country into perspective, one of the key consumer spending statistics about daily vs holidays expenses says that the ordinary American gets by on just $164.55 a day.

52. The average American’s holiday expenditure was expected to slightly jump from $1,000 in 2018 to $1,050 in 2019.

(USA TODAY, Investopedia & Center for Strategic and International Studies)

Will the 2020 holiday season be as merry as the previous ones? 

COVID-19 has already affected global consumer spending statistics due to desperate measures like social distancing and self isolation. But Americans can sustain their holiday spending hot streak if the government successfully cushions the economic fallout from the coronavirus threat.

53. By 2021, the number of digital shoppers in the US is projected to be 230.5 million.

(Statista)

Ecommerce penetration in America has been on a continuous rise for a couple of years now. The consumer spending 2016 data stated that less than 210 million shoppers used online and mobile channels four years ago.

Physical stores in the country may not become obsolete in the near future, but more and more goods are being traded on the Internet.

Wrap up

Consumerism is America’s religion. Although it has not showered all blind followers with riches, it has blessed businesses with bountiful capital to create jobs with stable income, contribute taxes, and stimulate the economy.

Bottom line:

The US consumer economy has its fair share of highs and lows, but it’s a success story for the most part. The American government may not take other major GDP components for granted, but consumer spending statistics are and will always be the most relevant measure of the country’s economic health.

Sources:

Leave a Reply