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Factoids offer brief snapshots of current topics pertinent to the Furniture industry based on our on-going research. Increase your grasp of current trends, consumer attitudes, and shifts within the industry through solid statistics and concise insight.

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Home Furnishings: Follow the Money | Home Furnishings and Equipment

The top 20 percent of all households make over half (52.8 percent) of all income and pay 78.5 percent of all taxes. This still leaves these households who make over $105,600 per year with 48.6 percent of all disposable income. This is the third factoid in a series of four factoids that details the annual mid-year Consumer Expenditure Survey report (mid 2015 to mid 2016) by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report divides the 129 million households in the U.S. into 20 percent quintiles of around 25.8 million consumer units each from the lowest to highest earners.

Lower income families spend a higher percentage of their income on food, shelter, utilities, gasoline, and healthcare, leaving less disposable income for non essentials. However, surprisingly, when it comes to home furnishings and equipment, the disparity in percent of income spent between the ranges does not vary significantly.

Among Home Furnishings and Equipment, the percent of income spent on Furniture and Major Appliances are the two largest segments. Aside from the lowest 20 percent quintile at 0.6 percent share, all income levels use between 0.8 and 0.9 percent of their income on furniture purchases. While the share is roughly the same, the dollars spent differ greatly. With an average annual expenditure of $1,054 on furniture, the highest income segment spends twice as much as the segment below it ($514) and almost four times the amount as the second 20 percent segment ($267).

Similar to furniture spending, the share of income spent on Major Appliances does not change much between income levels – ranging from 0.4 percent to 0.6 percent of income, regardless of earnings. Since a refrigerator or oven is more likely to be considered a necessity compared to a new sofa or table, average expenditures do not vary as much with highest earning households spending an average of $482 and the lowest spending $108.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey, Mid-year Report 2015 to 2016 (Note: The Consumer Expenditure Survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics which is the basis of this article tends to reflect lower average annual expenditures compared to the Personal Consumption Expenditures tracked by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.)

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FastFact: Furniture Spending Varies Little Among Low, High-Income Households
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