Consumer Spending Statistics - Featured Image
30.06.2021

48 Powerful Consumer Spending Statistics to Get You Shopping in 2021

by Milos Djordjevic

Americans are known for many things, but being big savers is not one of them. In November 2020, the personal saving rate in the US was 12.9%. 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 $4.68 trillion in purchasing power.
  • Non-Hispanic whites represent just 56% of the Millennial consumer base.
  • In 2020, holiday spending has decreased overall, but spending on gifts jumped 9% in 2020.
  • 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. 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.

5. The most recent data about consumer spending by state available revealed that the District of Columbia had the highest PCE rate per capita, $65,352.

(Statista)

Massachusetts was the state with the highest personal expenditure per capita in 2019, with $56,231. On the other hand, Mississippi had the lowest PCE with $32,329.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. The San Diego-Carlsbad Metro Area had a consumer price index (CPI) of 306.34 in November 2020.

(Bureau of Labor Statistics)

At the other end of the spectrum, the urban consumers in the Tampa Bay Area recorded the lowest CPI of 233.84. The average of leading US metros last year was 260.47.

11. 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.

12. 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.

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

(PYMNTS.com, 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.

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

(Bureau of Economic Analysis, The Balance, CNBC & TheStreet)

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 announced the state of 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.

15. According to the latest personal consumption expenditures data, US consumers spent $14.401 trillion by Q3 2020.

(Bureau of Economic Analysis)

Compared to Q3 2019, Americans decreased their spending on recreational goods, vehicles, housing, and utilities as well as legal and personal care services.

16. 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.

17. In 2019, the average household spending in the US was $63,036.

(The Balance, Statista & PYMNTS.com)

While American households increased their expenses slightly in 2019, we are yet to see the impact that 2020 had on annual consumer spending.

18. 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

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

(Inc.)

The majority of average household expenses go through female family members. Whether this means that women do most of the shopping, or that they do most of the budgeting, we’ll leave up to you to decide.

20. 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.

21. 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.

22. 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.

23. 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.

24. 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

25. 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.

26. Based on the latest available consumer spending data, the purchasing power of minorities in the US was equivalent to a whopping $4.68 trillion.

(Catalyst

The combined dollars of Hispanic, Black, Asian, Native American, and multiracial people were considerably bigger than the nominal GDP of Germany, Europe’s largest economy.

27. 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.

28. 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.

29. 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%.

30. 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.

31. In 2020, the purchasing power of Asian Americans was worth about $1.2 trillion.

(Nielsen & Forbes)

Asian Americans are more likely to accept new technologies and try out digital trends, which is especially important for ecommerce marketers.

What’s more, the Asian Americans’ purchasing power is expected to rise to $1.6 trillion in 2024. 

32. 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.

33. 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.

34. 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.

35. 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.

36. 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.

37. 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

38. During the 2020 holiday season, online sales grew by 49% compared to 2019.

(Mastercard)

US consumer spending in 2020 has moved online. Retailers who want to stay afloat must not underestimate the reality that more and more Americans are using digital shopping platforms.

39. In 2020, digital restaurant marketplace sales grew to $44.94 billion in sales, more than twice from $20.8 billion in 2019. 

(Statista & eMarketer)

Digital food will continue growing in 2021 and expand by 22.3%. While it isn’t twice the growth, the industry will certainly flourish in the next couple of years.

So who orders the most?

Based on the latest consumer spending statistics by city, the top five markets for food delivery are San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York City, which spent the most dollars on food delivery per capita, at $773.7.

40. Cyber Week 2020 broke all records with $60 billion in US online sales. 

(Salesforce)

This record-breaking year saw sales surge during a five-day online shopping spree, spanning from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. 

In fact, according to the consumer spending report by Salesforce, global sales reached $270 billion!

Due to rising ecommerce penetration, the preference for BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store), and general reliance on online sales, economists and marketers could reasonably expect the digital consumer spending statistics for 2021 to reach new heights.

Consumer Spending Statistics - Grocery Cart

Consumer Spending Trends in the US

41. 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.

42. 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.

43. 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.

44. 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?

45. 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.

46. In 2020, holiday spending has decreased by 7% overall, but spending on gifts jumped by 9%.

(USA TODAY, CNBC & PwC)

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

That is, until 2020.

2020 marks the second time that holiday spending has decreased. Still, the holiday spirit found a way to deal with the crisis. Americans sustained their holiday spending hot streak when it comes to gifts. 

In fact, Americans spent 16% more on people outside of their closest circle last year.

47. The average American’s holiday expenditure was expected to drop from $1,284 in 2019 to $1,194 in 2020.

(PwC)

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. 

COVID-19 affected global consumer spending statistics due to desperate measures like social distancing and self isolation. So last season’s drop wasn’t unexpected.

48. 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 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:

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