U.S. Consumption

Includes: CARZ
by: Marc Chandler


Average American household increase spending by $800 in 2013.

Almost 2/3 went to transportation.

Americans are not buying cars this year, but trucks--(minivans, SUVs, and cross-overs).

These Great Graphics were posted on The Atlantic by Derek Thompson. According to BLS data, the average American household increased its spending by $800 last year (to $51, 400). The first chart shows how that money was spent. Almost 2/3 (62%) was on transportation. The blue bars, in order, are misc transportation, used vehicles and new vehicles.

The yellow bar is for cash contributions, which Thompson defines as a "catch-all category that notably includes financial support for college students". The pink bar on the left is for everything else. It accounted for $162 of the $800 of increased spending last year, or 20%.

Click to enlargeThompson looks closer at the new and used vehicles, which accounted for 44% of the increase in spending. He draws on Motor Intelligence data for the second chart, which depicts the year-to-date spending on vehicles. What is clearly shown is that the Americans are purchasing less cars and more trucks (minivans, small SUVs and cross-overs). Domestic car sales are off 6% this year. Domestic and imported truck sales are up 8% .

Thompson makes an interesting observation. It turns out that where ever one falls in terms of income distribution, American households typically spend about a sixth of their income on transportation. Only 1/16 (~6%) of America's transportation spending is for public transit.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.