Characteristics of Top Spending Households Marriage and Children
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 second factoid in a series of four factoids delving into key household characteristics – age, income, marriage/children status, occupation, population, and region.
Marriage and Children Status
Marriage and children play a huge role in a consumer’s furniture buying needs. Typically marriage leads to buying a house and furnishings. When kids come along, households have furniture buying needs for years to come as families grow. Young married families starting out where the oldest child is under 6 had the highest average furniture expenditure at $886. These families, often dual-income earners, place a high priority on home furnishings. Most often this is their first home purchase. The next older cohort, married households with children between 6 and 17 years of age spend 12 percent less at $780 annually. At this life-stage additional family commitments begin to compete for household dollars – such as expenditures on school activities and sport, dental braces, teenage automobile costs, and private schools among higher income earners.
While married couples with the oldest child under 6 spent the most per consumer unit/household, this segment only accounts for 7.2 percent of the total furniture expenditures. If Millennials seriously start to embrace the traditional American Dream – get married, have children, and buy a house – it will be a huge boom for the furniture industry. Married couples without children appear to control the largest portion of furniture purchases at 32.3 percent while single consumer units without children spend 25.7 percent. Married couples with the oldest child over 18 only reflect 8.6 percent of furniture purchases as parents plan for the next life-stage – children in college.
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”