Americans Spend Less Than Other Countries on These 9 Items

By Qiana Chavaia on 16 March 2016 0 comments

The U.S. has the largest consumer market with a GDP nearly one-third the size of the entire world's consumer market. And we spend more on certain items than most other countries. For instance, we pay much more than other nations for housing, medical costs, and education. But, it may surprise you to learn that because we are such a large consumer market, we actually spend less than other nations on these nine things.

1. Clothing

In a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) comparative study of four developed nations including the United States, it was discovered that Americans spend 2% less than Canadians and 1.5% less than the UK on clothing. And of the four nations the U.S. ranked lowest for total clothing expenditures — at 4%.

2. Food

The same study also revealed that Americans spend less on food — just 14.6% — while Japanese citizens spend 21.8% of their total income on food. Canada scored second (15.3%), and the UK ranked third at 19.9%.

3. Electronics

The U.S. has the largest market for consumer electronics. And like the rules of supply and demand tell us, manufacturers are eager to supply to large markets such as ours, which helps control prices. Therefore, Americans who love their electronics and gadgets actually spend less on electronics than other nations.

4. Public Transportation

Again, according to the BLS report, we spend the least to get around (1.1%). Meanwhile, the UK spends 2.5%, Japan spends 2.3%, and Canada spends 2.0%.

5. Appliances

Many of the top appliance manufacturers like General Electric (GE) and Whirlpool are based in the U.S., which creates another situation where Americans get to reap the price rewards of purchasing domestic products for less.

6. Automobiles

Americans love their cars, and we spend 6.1% of our expenditures on automobiles. That’s more than the UK and Japan, but that's the percentage of our household income. In terms of car prices per unit, we spend less than other countries.

7. Culture, Entertainment, and Recreation

Statistics about the types of culture, entertainment, and recreation are unknown, so it's unclear what specific things were included in total expenditures. But, apparently the U.S. spends significantly less on this category (6.5%) than other countries. The UK spends 15.1%, Japan 11.2%, and Canada 8.6%.

8. Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco Products

Surprisingly, Americans spend less than the UK and Canada on alcohol and tobacco products — 1.9%. This is perhaps because many of the liquor and tobacco producers and distributors are located right here in the U.S. or in nearby Latin America.

9. Firearms

Americans love firearms probably as much as they love automobiles. Guns in America are readily available and cheap. However, they cost in more ways than people realize. An insightful Mother Jones article points to how gun violence costs American taxpayers millions of dollars every day.

Do your expenditures match the averages listed here?

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