Characteristics of Top Spending Households Age and Income
A snapshot of today’s top-spending furniture consumers looks to be high-earning married couples, in their late 30s and early 40s with young children, living in urban areas. Using data from the 2017 Consumer Expenditure Survey, this is the first factoid in a series of four factoids delving into key household characteristics – age, income, marriage/children status, occupation, population, and region.
Age and Income
Ages 35 to 44 spent an average of $663 per furniture expenditure in 2017 – the highest of the age groups. 54 percent of these older Millennials and younger Gen Xers are homeowners. Many older millennials are just now settling down, making more money, purchasing homes and buying furniture. Some of the younger Millennials (Ages 25-34) are also contributing to higher furniture expenditures. At an annual average of $538, ages 25 to 34 are spending more per purchase than ages 45 to 54 ($517).
Not surprisingly, consumers that earn more money tend to spend more on their furniture purchases. High income earners spent three-times to four-times the level of middle class house households in 2017. The jump among higher income households – those earning above $100,000 – is quite dramatic. Households with incomes between $150,000 to $199,999 spend an annual furniture expenditure average of $1,132 compared to $700 for those earning between $100,000 and $149,999 – a 61.7 percent increase.
Methodology: The CE versus the PCE
There are currently two U.S. Federal series of data that refer to household expenditures. One is produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, using the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE), and the other is produced by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE). The information in the article reflects data from the CE. The CE is the only Federal household survey to provide information on the complete range of consumers' expenditures and incomes, as well as the characteristics of those consumers. It is published semi-annually with 2017 year end the most current. The PCE, which measures national consumer spending, is published monthly by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and is the main workhorse that drives economic growth. Much research continues to be done on the differences in the final estimates of consumer spending between the CE and the PCE. In terms of furniture expenditures the CE always reflects a lower average household expenditure which in 2017 calculated at a ratio of .63 versus the PCE.
Source: Consumer Expenditure Survey 2017, Bureau of Labor Statistics, which in 2017 calculated at a ratio of .63 versus Personal Consumption Expenditures published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (see methodology box below “ Methodology: The CE versus the PCE”