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How Consumers Spend Their Money

CH-Statistic-How-Consumers-Spend-Their-MoneyIt’s obvious from the annual credit card debt figures that we collectively spend a whole lot of money on a bunch of different kinds of things.  But what exactly?  Aren’t you curious?  Well, it turns out you can break down the average person’s spending into a few distinct expense categories.  You can also use consumer spending statistics to take the country’s economic pulse, gauge the significance of major events, and gain any number of other important insights.

Below you will find an overview of the types of things we spend our money on, followed by a snapshot of consumer spending related to major events throughout the year, including the winter holidays, The Super Bowl, and Valentine’s Day.

Overall

Median U.S. Household Income and Expenditures

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Income before taxes $63,563 $62,857 $62,481 $63,685 $65,596 $63,784
Expenditure $50,486 $49,067 $48,109 $49,705 $51,442 $51,100
Note: Data is reported by consumer unit as defined by U.S. Department of Labor
(Source: U.S. Department of Labor, September 2014)

Average Annual U.S. Consumer Expenditures

Spending Area 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Food 12.8% ($6,443) 13.0% ($6,372) 12.7% ($6,129) 5.4 % ($6,458) 2.2% ($6,599) 0.1% ($6,602)
Housing 21.6% ($17,109) -1.3% ($16,895) -2,0% ($16,557) 1.5% ($16,803) 0.5% ($16,887) 1.6% (17,148)
Apparel & Services 3.6% ($1,801) 3.5% ($1,725) 3.5% ($1,700) 2.4% ($ 1,740) -0.2% ($1,736) -7.6% ($1,604)
Transportation 9.6% ($8,604) -11.0% ($7,658) 0.2%($7,677) 8.0% ($8,293) 8.5% ($8,998) 0.1% ($9,004)
Healthcare 5.9% ($2,976) 6.4% ($3,126) 6.6% ($3,157) 4.9% ($3,313) 7.3% ($3,556) 2.1% ($3,631)
Entertainment 5.6% ($2,835) 5.5% ($2,693) 5.2% ($2,504) 2.7% ($2,572 ) 1.3% ($2,605) -4.7%($2,482)
Cash Contributions 3.4% ($1,737) 3.5% ($1,723) 3.4% ($1,633) 5.4% ($1,721) 11.2% ($1,913) -4.1% ($1,834)
Personal Insurance & Pensions 11.1% ($5,605) 11.2% ($5,471) 11.2% ($5,373) 0.9% ($5,424) 3.1% ($5,373) 2.9% ($5,528)
All Other Expenditures 6.7% ($3,376) 6.9% ($3,404) 7.0% ($3,379) 0.1% ($3,382) 5.2% ($3,557) -8.2% ($3,267)
Total $50,486 $49,067 $48,109 $49,705 $51,442 $51,100
(Source: U.S. Department of Labor, September 2014)

Average Annual Consumer Expenditures 2013
(Source: U.S. Department of Labor, September 2014)


Winter Holiday Spending

  • The average holiday shopper spent $730 in 2013.
(Source:  National Retail Federation)

Total Winter Holiday Spending

Year Total Spending (in billions) Average Consumer Spending
2008 $470.4 $705.01
2009 $437.6 $682.74
2010 $465.6 $718.98
2011 $583.7 $740.57
2012 $586.1 $749.51
2013 $602.0 $730.00
(Source: National Retail Federation)

Planned Consumer Christmas Gift Spending By Year

Year Average Spending Percent Change
2014 $861 8%
2013 $801 -6%
2012 $854 32%
2011 $646 -2%
2010 $658 58%
2009 $417 -3%
2008 $431 -50%
2007 $859 -5%
2006 $907 -4%
2005 $942 -6%
2004 $1,004 3%
2003 $976 -6%
2002 $1,037 -1%
(Source:  American Research Group)


Super Bowl

  • 189 million people will watch this year’s Super Bowl, according to the National Retail Federation (2.7% increase from last year’s 184 million)
  • The average Super Bowl viewer is expected to spend $82.19 on team apparel and more food, décor, team apparel and more – a more than 5.5% increase from last year.
  • Total Super Bowl-related spending is expected to be $15.5 billion this year – a 8.4% increase from last year’s $12.3 billion.
  • 79.8% of viewers will buy snacks for the game (0.6% increase from last year), 7.7% of viewers will buy new televisions (12.5% decrease from last year).
  • Nearly 5% more fans will buy team apparel and accessories this year compared to last – 20.9 million fans vs. 19.9 million fans.
(Source: National Retail Federation, January 2016)
  • CBS has set the ad rate for a 30-second advertisement at US$5 million, 11% higher than the base price of US$4.5 million set by NBC for the previous year’s Super Bowl XLIX. The last time CBS aired the Super Bowl, three years ago, the average 30-second spot cost $3.8 million.
(Source: Fortune, “This is how much a 2016 Super Bowl ad costs”, August 2015)

Annual Super Bowl Consumer Spending

Year Total Spending
(in Billions)
Average Spent on Related Merchandise, Apparel & Snacks
2005 $5.60 $49.27
2006 $5.30 $49.39
2007 $8.70 $56.04
2008 $9.50 $59.90
2009 $9.60 $57.27
2010 $8.90 $52.63
2011 $10.10 $59.33
2012 $11.00 $63.87
2013 $12.30 $68.54
2014 $12.30 $68.27
2015 $14.30 $77.88
2016 $15.50 $82.19
(Source: National Retail Federation)

Annual Super Bowl Consumer Spending
(Source: National Retail Federation)
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Where Super Bowl Viewers Spend Money

Year Food & Beverages Team Apparel & Accessories Decorations Furniture* Television
2008 67.40% N/A N/A 1.10% 2.50%
2009 72.40% 5.60% N/A 1.20% 2.70%
2010 71.40% 6.50% 6.10% 1.90% 3.60%
2011 69.50% 7.30% 6.00% 2.00% 4.50%
2012 71.30% 8.60% 6.40% 2.40% 5.10%
2013 74.00% 9.50% 4.20% 2.20% 7.10%
2014 77.00% 8.10% 6.00% 3.40% 7.20%
2015 79.30% 10.80% 7.40% 3.90% 8.80%
2016 79.80% 11.10% 8.10% 3.90% 7.70%
*Note: including entertainment centers
(Source: National Retail Federation)

2016 Super Bowl Viewers Expenditures by Category
(Source: National Retail Federation)

Average Cost of a 30-Second Super Bowl Ad (in Millions)

Year Cost
2007 $2.39
2008 $2.70
2009 $2.99
2010 $2.95
2011 $3.10
2012 $3.50
2013 $3.80
2014 $4.00
2015 $4.50
2016 $5.00
(Source: Nielsen, USA Today, Fortune)

Average Cost of a 30-Second Super Bowl Ad
(Source: Nielsen, USA Today, Fortune)

Biggest Super Bowl Advertising Categories (in Millions)

Year Automotive Beer Movies Soft Drinks Tortilla Chips*
2007 $21.5 $23.9 $8.3 $16.7 $7.2
2008 $22.5 $21.6 $23.0 $16.2 $8.1
2009 $18.0 $27.0 $42.0 $21.0 $6.0
2010 $32.7 $32.7 $16.4 $14.9 $11.9
2011 $77.5 $21.7 $31.0 $12.4 $9.3
2012 $90.5 $31.5 $20.0 $20.0
*Note: In 2012 Manufacturing replaced Tortilla Chips in the top-five categories
(Source: Nielsen, 2013)
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Valentine’s Day

  • The average American planned to spend $146.84 on purchases related to Valentine’s Day in 2016 —3.2% more than the prior year ($142.31).
  • Men planned to spend an average of $196.39, while women roughly $99.87, which means that men would spend twice as much as women on Valentine’s Day.
  • In the workplace, 10.8% of shoppers planned to buy a Valentine’s Day gift for co-workers, spending an average of $5.83.
(Source:National Retail Federation, 2016)
  • In 2015, more than half of the country indicated a night out with their significant other as their top choice of gifts (51%). This was followed by smartphones (39%), chocolates (33%), flowers (27%), and clothes (25%).
  • Californians spent the most on Valentine’s Day in 2012 — an average of $134 per transaction.  New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina followed in that order.
  • People in Wyoming spent the least on Valentine’s Day in 2012, followed by North Dakota and Idaho.
(Source:  Ebates.com)
  • In 2013, 16% of consumers report having spent more than $200 on a Valentine’s Day gift, 32% have spent more than $100, and roughly 51% have spent more than $50.
  • Around half of all consumers have only ever spent $50 or less on a Valentine’s Day gift.
  • 73% of the people who plan to buy a Valentine’s Day gift report they will use coupons to save because the recipient won’t find out.
(Source:  CouponCabin.com)

Annual Valentine’s Day Spending

Year Amount Spent (in Billions) Change From Prior Year
2010 $14.1 N/A
2011 $15.7 11.3%
2012 $17.6 8.5%
2013* $18.6 5.7%
2014* $17.3 -7.0%
2015* $18.9 9.2%
2016* $19.7 4.2%
*Note: Reflects projected spending
(Source: National Retail Federation)

Annual Valentine’s Day Spending by Gender

Year Amount Spent by Average Man Amount Spent by Average Woman Gender Disparity
2010 $135.35 $72.28 87.30%
2011 $158.71 $75.79 109.60%
2012 $168.74 $85.76 96.80%
2013* $175.61 $88.78 97.80%
2014* $173.05 $96.86 78.66%
2015* $190.53 $96.58 97.28%
2016* $196.39 $99.87 96.65%
*Note: Reflects projected spending
(Source: National Retail Federation)

Annual Valentine’s Day Spending by Gift Type

Year Jewelry Gift Cards Candy Flowers Evening Out
2009 16.0% N/A N/A N/A 47.0%
2010 15.5% N/A N/A 35.6% 35.6%
2011 17.3% 12.6% N/A N/A N/A
2012 18.9% 13.3% 50.5% 36.0% 35.6%
2013* 19.7% 15.0% 51.0% 36.6% 36.2%
2014* 18.9% 14.0% 48.7% 37.3% 37.0%
2015* 21.1% 14.8% 53.2% 37.8% 35.1%
2016* 19.9% 15.4% 50.0% 36.4% 38.3%
*Note: Reflects projected spending
(Source: National Retail Federation)

Average Annual Valentine’s Day Spending by Intended Recipient

Year Significant Other Other Family Friends Co-workers Pets
2009 $67.22 N/A $4.74 $1.94 N/A
2010 $63.34 N/A $5.37 $2.84 $3.27
2011 $68.98 N/A $6.30 $3.41 $5.04
2012 $74.12 $25.25 $6.92 N/A $4.52
2013* $73.75 $26.46 $8.49 $5.12 N/A
2014* $78.09 $25.22 $7.54 $6.52 $5.51
2015* $87.94 $26.26 $7.16 $4.71 $5.28
2016* $89.86 $27.79 $7.47 $5.83 $5.07
*Note: Reflects projected spending
(Source: National Retail Federation)

Where People Buy Their Valentine’s Day Gifts

Year Discount Stores Department Stores Specialty Stores Local Florist Local Jeweler Online
2010 40.9% 31.1% 21.4% N/A N/A N/A
2011 36.6% 30.5% 19.4% 16.8% 9.5% 18.1%
2012 37.0% 33.6% 20.2% 17.8% 10.6% 19.3%
2013* 39.6% 33.2% 22.9% 19.6% 11.2% 26.3%
2014* 34.7% 34.4% 22.7% 19.3% 10.0% 26.1%
2015* 35.2% 36.5% 19.4% 18.7% 11.9% 25.1%
2016* 31.0% 34.5% 19.1% 19.4% 11.1% 27.9%
*Note: Reflects projected spending
(Source: National Retail Federation)

How Men Approached Valentine’s Day Spending in 2016

Where Men Shopped What They Bought
30.9% – Florists 58.2% – Flowers
27.9% – Online 42.4% – Greeting Cards
18.6% – Specialty Store (Greeting Card/Gift Store, Electronics Store) 47.1% – Candy
16.7% – Jewelry Store 43.2% – Evening Out
6.8% – Other 29.3% – Jewelry
1.7% – Catalog 14.7% – Clothing
N/A 11.4% – Gift Cards
N/A 6% – Other
Note: The sum of the % totals may be greater than 100% because the respondents can select more than one answer.
(Source: National Retail Federation)

Average Valentine’s Day Spending by Year
(Source: National Retail Federation)
Valentine’s Day Spending on a Spouse or Significant Other
(Source: National Retail Federation)
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