Consumer expenditure rise largely attributable to discretionary spending

October 26, 1998

The 4.8-percent increase in consumer expenditures between 1995 and 1996 was largely driven by spending on discretionary expenditure items such as entertainment, food away from home, and other expenditures including alcoholic beverages and personal care products and services. The traditional staples of consumer spending—housing, transportation, food at home, and apparel—did show increases, but only transportation reported an increase above 4.8 percent.

Proportion of total annual expenditures of all consumer units on select items and changes, 1995-96
[Table data—TXT]

In 1995, housing, transportation, food at home, and apparel accounted for 65.0 percent of total expenditures, compared with 20.4 percent for food away from home, entertainment, and other expenditures. In 1996, the proportion of total spending accounted for by housing, transportation, food at home, and apparel edged down to 64.4 percent, while the proportion for food away from home, entertainment, and other expenditures rose to 21.3 percent.

In entertainment, the overall spending increase of 13.8 percent was led by a 52.1-percent increase in other supplies, equipment, and services. This category includes expenditures on sporting equipment, photographic equipment, and purchases and rentals of boats, campers, and other recreational vehicles.

In the other expenditures category, the overall expenditure increase of 8.6 percent was driven by increases in personal care products and services, alcoholic beverages, and miscellaneous expenditures.

These data are a product of the BLS Consumer Expenditure Survey. A synopsis of expenditure increases by category is available from "Consumer expenditures rise at highest rate since 1989", The Editor's Desk. A more detailed summary of 1996 consumer expenditures is available from news release USDL 98-415, Consumer Expenditures in 1996. For extensive data, see Consumer Expenditure Survey: Standard Bulletin Tables.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Consumer expenditure rise largely attributable to discretionary spending on the Internet at (visited September 26, 2016).


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