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Published on: Advertising

Consumer Spending Statistics

Most companies and brands, especially, are extremely interested in consumers’ behaviour. And when it comes to consumers behaviour, spending statistics are king. In the full report, you will learn all the most important consumer statistics that will change or shape your marketing plan, advertising campaign or even your business strategy. 

Consumer’s habits have changed dramatically over the last two decades mainly due to the fact that digital shopping seems to be gaining more market to traditional market places such as brick and mortar businesses and shopping centres. 

E-commerce has grown every year during the last decade and experts predict that it will keep growing within the next years too. 

The latest report from the Office for National Statistics was released in December 2019 ( for the first quarter of 2020, we will need to wait a bit, partly due to the coronavirus crisis ).

In the United States, online retailers generate over $1,800 a year for each customer.

For more information on online consumer statistics by country please see the summary below.

Top Consumer Spending Statistics

  1. E-commerce sales in the United Kingdom hit 586 billion pounds in 2017.
  2. Housing account for 33% of the total expenses for each person.
  3. Generation Z makes 358 transactions a year.
  4. Women wear the trousers when it comes to buying.
  5. Ecommerce retail sales will grow 10.9% this year, to reach £106.46 billion ($141.93 billion) and 22.3% of total retail.
  6. 82% of people in the United Kingdom made purchases online.
  7. After all, almost eight in 10 retail pounds spent are in physical stores.

Average Consumer Spent Growth

Consumer expenditures are supposed to grow each year. Consumers spend more money not only because consumerism has grown but also it is due to inflation and the continuous price increase on goods and services. 

In the United States, consumer expenditure has doubled in the last 30 years. Inflation and price rises are partly responsible for this trend.

You can see on the chart above that that during 2009, 2010, 2011 average consumerism was lower than the previous 2018 year, as a result of the financial crisis caused by the housing bubble.

Retail Spending Habits online

Electronics, books and furniture take the top three positions of all the total retail sales.

Consumers are very fond of electronic gadgets as the chart above proves. Books, magazines and entertainment, in general, follow right behind. Toys and sporting goods come behind. 

Consumerism patterns would remain pretty much the same for the next years, although some small variation could happen.

Disruptive industries and the introduction of new elements could impact retail sales but most likely what the chart above shows will stay for a while. 

How Americans spend their money?

You might wonder how consumers spend their money. Perhaps trying to unveil a secret to boost your brand sales. However, the mystery behind how people spend their money is less of a secret. 

As you can see in the chart above, most people expenses go to their housing, covering over a third of the total.

Transporation and food occupy second and third places and the top three expenses make up more than 60% of their total spending. 

Clothing, holidays and restaurant would be next on the list, in case you were wondering what their other expenses were for the vast majority of consumers. 

Consumer spending  by generation

Millennials are often considered to be big spenders. However, the biggest spenders are Generation Z as they have a much higher purchasing power.

Although there is a much big difference between the Gen Z, Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers. 

79% of electronics are bought online.

Younger generations usually have more free time as they might be studying and tend to invest more of their time in holidays and buy the latest gadgets.

Consumerism intention decrease as we get older as we reach our retirement, we tend to slow down and just enjoy simple and quiet days. 

How Millennials spend their money

Millennials are spending their money differently than older generations on things like groceries, gas, restaurants and travel, according to a new report. (PRNewsfoto/

Millennials are the second spending power right behind Generation Z. But how do they spend their money?

At the top of the list, we find groceries. This generation has a reputation for foodies and the chart above shed a light on this matter as among their top three biggest expenses are food and restaurants. 

Mobile phones and travelling take a great part of their expenses too.

The gadget and travel industry has exploded over the last two decades so this trend is somehow expected.

#27% of Millennials spend more on coffee each month than on retirement

Millennials are not worried about retiring yet. Also, the increasing prices of coffee might have also something to do with the fact that Millennials spend more money on coffee than investing in a retirement plan. 

Total expenditure in the United Kingdom

Who makes spending decisions?

Some of the most important statistics when it comes to communism is who has the most purchasing power, that is to say, who makes purchase decisions.

Above you can see a full list of products and industries and who wears the trousers when deciding what and when to blue something. 

Only vehicles, properties and consumer electronics are purchases decided mainly by male consumers.

For any other goods, women’s opinion does have more weight than men’s. 

Many marketers consider women as the major driving force behind most sales. Many industries such as fashion have invested large amounts on their female side of the business. 

Fashion spending by country

That is right! Britons have a reputation for being fashionistas. Germany and Italy follow suit.

It needs to be taken into account the fact the chart above represents total sales by country so factors such as population and GDP play a crucial role. In 2018, Britons spend over €65 billion on clothing and fashion. 

Online consumers spending statistics

We could not do a full report on consumer spending statistics without creating an individual section on online shopping. Ecommerce is so big, varied and complex that it requires to be considered as an industry itself.

The way it operates and how consumers interact with eCommerce has shown us that it acts as an individual entity itself which in a constant state of transformation.

So you might wonder how money online shoppers are spending by country. The United States and the United Kingdom are the biggest online markets with eCommerce store generating an over $1.600 in revenue per each online shopper.

What consumers buy online

If you made this far, more riches are coming. For example, what online shoppers are spending the most money on. Below you can see that electrical and household appliances are at the top of the most purchased items online.

86% of electrical household appliances are bought online. Holidays and fashion are the main online purchases but it seems like other items that do not require to be tried on also have a good reception among customers.

How do consumers buy groceries

eCommerce is on the way to become king

Ecommerce retail sales will grow 10.9% this year, to reach £106.46 billion ($141.93 billion) and 22.3% of total retail.

E-commerce sales are the way to become the main buying channel. On 2010 it grew just about 10% and this year is expected to grow 10.9%.

With the coronavirus crisis, consumers had mainly only access to online shopping which triggered a spike in demand for online commerce retailers.

However not all online shoppers are the same and older generation are more reticent to make purchases on digital platforms. Below there is a chart that shows the penetration rate of online shopping per country.

As you can North American and Western Europe penetration rate is not yet total and many other countries still have a relatively low percentage of online sales. Experts predict that in the future online sales will account for more than half of total sales.

We are Top Media, an advertising agency in London focused on creative and effective advertising.


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