17+ Consumer Spending Statistics to Know in 2021

Have you ever wondered how much disposable income households have?

Wonder no more! We’ve prepared some consumer spending statistics that have all the answers you need!

But why are they important?

Facts and stats pertaining to consumer trends indicate the health of the economy. If spending is too low, an economic boost is needed. On the other hand, high demand and low supply can lead to inflation. Balance is needed, for when there is none, bad things happen.

*ominous music playing*

The Great Recession is surely still a painful memory for many Americans. Thankfully, the economy has recovered since those dark times.

Here are some recent American spending stats that show you how far it’s come:

Impressive Consumer Spending Statistics (Editor’s Pick):

  • The average income before taxes is $78,635.
  • American households spent $7,923 on average per year on food.
  • Healthcare costs amount to $4,968 on average per year.
  • The average annual expenses for entertainment in 2018 were $3,226.
  • The personal saving rate has decreased by 0.3%.
  • Consumer spending as a percentage of GDP equals 67.7%.

Consumer Spending Statistics on a Household Level

How much exactly do American households spend though?

 Let’s see!

1. The average household expenses in 2018 amounted to $61,224.

(Source: BureauOfLaborStatistics)

The US Department of Labor releases an annual report on consumer expenditures. According to the latest report, the yearly average expenditures were $61,224 per consumer unit. One consumer unit represents a household with shared expenses. It can be a family, a single financially independent person or people living together and sharing expenses. 

Household spending has also increased by 1.9% on average when compared to average spending in 2017. 

2. The average income before taxes is $78,635. 

(Source: BureauOfLaborStatistics)

Judging by US consumer spending statistics, the average income before taxes and the average annual expenditures are almost the same amount. However, since 2017, there has been an increase of 6.9% to the average income before taxes. That year the amount was $73,573, while in  2016 the average was $74,664. So following a 1.5% decrease in 2017, last year’s amount doesn’t sound so bad. 

3. American spending on personal insurance and pensions increased by 7.8%. 

(Source: BureauOfLaborStatistics)

The annual expenditure on personal insurance and pensions increased by 7.8% in 2018. American households allocated $7,296 to this expenditure. In 2017, the average amount spent was $6,771. This is a 0.9% decrease from 2016 when the average was $6,83. 

As for the demographics, it was married couples with children who allocated the most on this expenditure. They represent 14%. After all, having children is expensive. Don’t believe us? Check out the average cost of raising a child in America.

Following up are married couples, representing 12.2%. This consumer unit includes married couples who share a household with other people, besides children. 

Other consumer units whose expenditures weren’t as high are married couples only (11.7%), single parents with at least one minor (10.2%) and single person and other consumer units (10.1%). 

4. American households spent $7,923 on average per year on food. 

(Source: BureauOfLaborStatistics)

Personal consumption expenditures data shows that Amеricans spend approximately the same amount of money on food as they do on personal insurance and pensions. In 2018, households spent $7,923 on average on food. Seeing how cooking at home is more affordable, it is no surprise that more than half of that amount was spent on food at home. As for eating out, American households spent $3,459 on average.

The amount of money people spend on food has increased by 2.5% compared to 2017. From the year 2016 to 2017, the increase represented 7.3%. 

The consumer unit with the highest annual expenditure on food are married couples who share a household with other people, besides children. This group represents 14.1%, followed by households consisting of a single parent with at least one minor. 

5. Consumer spending on housing amounts to $20,091 on average per year. 

(Source: BureauOfLaborStatistics)

It is no surprise that housing is the biggest expenditure. The majority of every household’s income goes towards rent or a mortgage. This household expenditure taking up a huge amount of our paycheck has increased by 1% since 2017.

However, from 2016 to 2017, the amount was increased by 5.3%.  On average, American households spent $19,884 on housing in 2017 and $18,886 in 2016.

Single persons and other consumer units allocate most of their yearly expenditures to housing – representing 36.5%. This group is followed by single parents with at least one minor who allocate 35.8%. For the consumer units composed of married couples, whether it is with children or without, housing represents less than ⅓ of their average expenditures for a year. 

6. The average American spending per year on transportation has increased by 1.9%. 

(Source: BureauOfLaborStatistics)

There has been a slight increase of 1.9% on the average amount American households spend on transportation per year. In dollar amounts, thе expense equals $9,761. One year before, in 2017, households spent $9,576.

This represented an increase of 5.8% compared to 2016. Back then American households spent $9,049 per year on average. American spending stats also show that there has been a decrease in vehicle purchases and an increase in fuel costs.

The group of consumers that allocate the highest amount to transportation expenditures are married couples living with other persons besides children and married couples with children. Their transportation costs represent 17.6% and 17.1% respectively. Single parents with at least one minor allocate 16.1% of their annual expenditures on transportation. 

7. Healthcare costs amount to $4,968 on average per year.

(Source: BureauOfLaborStatistics)

According to the latest consumer spending report from the Bureau of Labor, healthcare expenditures have increased by 0.8%. Health insurance expenditures, representing the larger part of healthcare costs, have decreased by 0.3%. Yet the average expenses on healthcare are still higher compared to 2016. Healthcare expenditures increased by 6.9% from 2016 to 2017. 

Healthcare costs represent 10.2% of the total expenditures of married couples. For married couples living with other persons besides children, healthcare costs amount to 8.6%. Single persons and other consumer units allocate 7.7% of their annual spending on healthcare and health insurance. 

8.  Average annual expenses on education have decreased by 5.6%.

(Source: BureauOfLaborStatistics)

The 2018 consumer spending data shows that education expenditures have decreased from an average of $1,491 per year in 2017 to $1,407 in 2018. The amount is still higher than the average expenditures in 2016, which amounted to $1,329.The survey includes tuition fees and supplies for nurseries, elementary schools, high schools, colleges, universities, etc.

9. Average household spending on clothing and footwear has increased by 1.8%.

(Source: BureauOfLaborStatistics)

Buying clothes and shoes cost the average American household $1,866 in 2018. The amount was  $1,833 in 2017. In 2016 American households spent $1,803 on apparel and services.

The apparel and services category from the report of the Bureau of Labor includes apparel, footwear, alterations, repairs, renting and storing clothing, dry cleaning, watches, and jewelry.

According to the personal consumer expenditures survey, this average amount represents 3.9% of the annual expenditures of single parents with at least one minor. For married couples living with other people, apparel and services represent 3.3% of the annual expenses.

Meanwhile, for married couples with children this category represents 3.2% of annual expenditures.  

10. The average annual expenses for entertainment in 2018 were $3,226.

(Source: BureauOfLaborStatistics)

The consumer expenditures survey from the Bureau of Labor puts fees and admission, TV, radio, sound equipment, pets, toys, hobbies, exercise equipment, etc in the entertainment category. 

From 2016 to 2017, there was a 10% increase in expenditures toward entertainment. These consumer spending habits continued in 2018 and led to a further 2% increase. So from $2,913 on average in 2016, American households spent $3,226 on entertainment. 

An interesting thing to note is that since millennials’ spending power increased, the amount of money people spend on their pets has also increased. Namely, there was a boost in the pet industry from 2017 to 2018 with an increase of 4.4% in spending. 

11. Expenses on personal care products now amount to $768 on average per year.

(Source: BureauOfLaborStatistics)

The survey doesn’t note whether this indicates a change in prices or a change in consumer spending trends. Personal care expenses have increased from $707 in 2016 to $768 in 2018. 

In the category of personal care products and services, the survey includes hair products, oral hygiene products bath products, cosmetics, personal care appliances, and other products. Personal care services for both men and women are also included. 

12. There was a small increase of 0.8% in cash contributions in 2018. 

(Source: BureauOfLaborStatistics)

As this is not exactly a fixed expense, consumer spending statistics related to cash contributions can indicate an increase in disposable income. The consumer expenditures survey defines cash contributions as money contributed to persons or organizations which aren’t part of the household. This includes alimony, child support, financial support to children that have moved out, or charitable donations to various organizations. 

In 2016, the average amount of annual cash contributions was $2,081. Then, there was a significant drop in these expenses of 10% or $1,873. While the average expenses on cash contributions are lower than in 2016, they still have a small increase. 

13. Consumer spending on various expenses amounts to an average of $2,030.

(Source: BureauOfLaborStatistics)

One year ago, the amount spent on various expenses was $2,010. The year before the amount equaled $1,897. So we can notice a slight increase in expenditures on miscellaneous goods and services.

This category of the survey consists of all other expenses that weren’t mentioned in the main categories. It includes customer spending on reading materials and subscriptions, tobacco products, smoking supplies, banking fees, credit card memberships, accounting fees, cemetery lots, occupational expenses, etc. 

Consumer Spending Statistics on a National Level

Now, let’s take a look at some numbers on a national level: 

14. Personal income in October 2019 increased by $3.3 billion.

Source: (BureauOfEconomicAnalysis

According to data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, personal income increased by $3.3 billion from September 2019 to October 2019. This represents a change of less than 0.1%. The data also shows a steady increase from March 2019. 

15. US personal consumption expenditures increased by 0.1% in October 2019.

Source: (BureauOfEconomicAnalysis

There is an increase of $11.3 billion in personal consumption expenditures in October 2019, compared to September 2019. This is due to an increase in spending on services by $16.4 billion. The amount was offset by a decrease of $7.4 billion in spending on goods. 

The reason for that is the higher spending on electricity and gas. As mentioned before, the costs of fuel became higher and there was a drop in vehicle purchasing – meaning less money was spent on buying goods such as cars.

16. The personal saving rate has decreased by 0.3%.

Source: (BureauOfEconomicAnalysis

The personal saving rate is defined as a percentage of disposable personal income. In October 2019 the rate was 7.8%, whereas in September 2019 the rate was 8.1%. Personal saving in October 2019 amounted to $1.29 trillion.

17. Consumer spending as a percentage of GDP equals 67.7%. 

Source: (BureauOfEconomicAnalysis)

Consumer spending represented as a percentage of the GDP is an important economic indicator. It shows that consumers have faith in the economy and are willing to spend. So a high percentage can also indicate economic growth. Of course, let’s not forget that in order to spend money, consumers need to have enough disposable income. Consumer spending as a percentage of GDP was the lowest post World War II when it dropped to around 50%.

According to a report by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the current percentage is 67.7%. Services account for 47%, nondurable goods account for 13.8% and durable goods account for 6.9%. 

How Much Money Is Spent By Consumers in the US Each Year?

The current gross domestic product of the USA is estimated to be around $21.5 trillion. Consumption expenditures amounted to $14.66 trillion in 2019, which is more than ⅔ of the national GDP

Definitely not numbers to be underestimated.

Consumer spending is one of the largest contributors to the national GDP. That also makes it the driving force of the economy. Considering the effect this has on the overall economic growth, consumer spending statistics are important for both the citizens and the government. 


After I got my degree in translation and interpreting, I started working in a typical office. To get away from my nine-to-five job, I ventured into freelance writing. One thing led to another, and I ended up creating content for SpendMeNot. I have been involved with this site ever since its launch — first as a writer and now as a content strategist. When not busy with publication planning, I like blogging. I just hate writing bios so that’s all from me, folks.

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