Affluent Americans (from households with an annual income of $90,000+) report average daily spending of $126 so far in 2012, continuing an upward trend over 2011 ($121), 2010 ($118) and 2009 ($116), per August 2012 figures from Gallup, which tracks spending on a monthly basis. These figures are based on Americans’ reports of the total amount they spent “yesterday” in stores, gas stations, restaurants, or online, excluding home and vehicle purchases and normal monthly bills.
Gallup observes that household spending averages are influenced chiefly by upper-income consumers with greater latitude to increase discretionary spending, and that spending among lower- and middle-income consumers tends to be more steady. Spending levels are up only slightly among low- and middle-income consumers (with annual household income less than $90,000), tracking at $59 per day in 2012, up just $1 over 2011 and $2 from 2009 and 2010.
Average Consumer Spending at $70 Daily
For 2012 to date, Americans’ self-reported daily spending has averaged $70, up $2 from 2011, and $5 from 2010. While Americans continue to spend more in 2012 than they have in recent years, spending is still well below 2008 levels, when average consumer daily spending peaked at $114 in June.
Overall daily spending in 2012 has averaged $70 or higher on a monthly basis since March, whereas spending estimates reached $70 only on occasion during 2009, 2010, and 2011. Gallup data reveals that spending in the second half of a year generally exceeds that of the first, thus, 2012 figures may increase further between now and the end of the year.
July Up Slightly, But Spenders Appear Cautious
The $73 self-reported average daily spending in July was up $3 from the average of $70 in June, and from the average $70 for 2012 to date. It is down slightly from $74 in July 2011.
Gallup in an earlier report of average daily spending observed a general caution among upper-income Americans, whose spending in June fell 15% to $116 from May’s $136, for the lowest self-reported spending level since September 2011 ($108). Overall spending across middle- and lower-income level Americans for June remained fairly flat in June at $60 per day, and the average $70 per household was down from $73 in May.
About The Data: Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking July 1-31, 2012, with a random sample of 14,042 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia. Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cell phone only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number).