The structure of consumer spending


in Economics, Internet matters

Tristan Laing in Ottawa

This graphic, provided by the New York Times, is quite interesting on two levels. To start with, it displays some interesting information about the structure of consumer spending. In addition, it provides an excellent example of data being displayed in a concise, comprehensible, attractive, and accessible way.

The first thing that is interesting is the breakdown between spending areas:

  • Housing: 42%
  • Transportation: 18%
  • Food and beverages: 15%
  • Health care: 6%
  • Education and communication: 6%
  • Recreation: 6%
  • Apparel: 4%
  • Miscellaneous: 3%

Also interesting are the single biggest spending items:

  • “Owner’s equivalent rent:” 23.9%
  • Rent: 5.8%
  • Gasoline: 5.2%
  • New cars and trucks: 4.6%
  • Full service restaurant meals: 3.0%
  • Electricity: 2.8%
  • Hotels and vacation homes: 2.4%
  • Car insurance: 2.0%
  • Used cars and trucks: 1.8%
  • Cable: 1.2%

Beer spending is a paltry 0.3% – only three times what is spent on butter or ice cream.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

AT May 8, 2008 at 11:01 pm

I honestly can’t believe how low beer, and with that, alcohol in general is. Cigarettes account for 0.7% of spending – all booze combined (as far as I can tell), only 1.1%.

Tristan May 8, 2008 at 11:10 pm

I can’t believe Food and Beverages count for 12 times more than booze spending – I spend at least as much on booze as I do on all other food combined. Or at least, I try to make a habit of it.

Milan May 8, 2008 at 11:14 pm

“Alcohol away from home” is 0.5% of spending.

At home spending:

Beer: 0.3%
Wine: 0.2%
Spirits: 0.1%

Milan May 8, 2008 at 11:17 pm

It is interesting that eggs are the only non-fuel product where the price has risen by more than 20% in the past year.

Perhaps they are very fossil fuel intensive to produce and distribute.

Sarah May 8, 2008 at 11:41 pm

Interesting to hear that about eggs, given that the price of the organic, free-range eggs I purchase doesn’t seem to have increased. Perhaps the price rises are concentrated at the cheap end of the market? Could it have anything to do with health fears, eg. extra testing for avian flu?

. May 9, 2008 at 4:20 pm

SUV Rollover

[W]holesale prices on big SUVs such as Chevrolet Tahoes, Ford Expeditions and Toyota Sequoias are down 17% from a year ago. Full-size pickups have fallen as much as 15%…

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