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  1. #1
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Are you an average consumer? If so, you spend $41/year on audio eq.

    For a work project, I've been working with the Consumer Expenditure Survey data, which is what the feds use to calculate the inflation rate. The detailed data shows some very interesting spending patterns for U.S. households.

    On audio equipment, the average U.S. household spends about $41 a year. Yup, that's right! Considering that some people spend more than that on just audio cables, it should tell you something about how unusual it is to be as dedicated to the hobby as a lot of us are. It should also tell you something about how difficult it is to keep a local audio store in business if most households are this tightfisted about investing any money into audio (it would also explain why there are so few audio stores out there in each community, period).

    Here are some other bits of spending trivia:

    Average spending on CDs, tapes, and records: $45
    Average spending on video games: $25
    Average spending on video tapes, discs: $36
    Average spending on video rentals: $41
    Average spending on TVs, video equipment: $67
    Average restaurant/take out spending: $1,981
    Average grocery spending: $3,217
    Average spending on alcoholic beverages (at home): $255

    Well, with us Americans spending five times as much on alcohol as we do on audio equipment, at least our priorities are straight!

  2. #2
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    hmmm...is THAT right...so that means that for every person who spends 10000 bux on audio gear that lasts 10 years...there are an equivalent of 24 people who dont spend a penny in 10 years.

    But for practical purposes, this figure isnt very descriptive. If I buy some speakers, lets say, then I probably wont buy new speakers until a while later. With stuff like groceries, we are constantly buying it. However, its still a very interesting statistic.

    Hey, you know the average spending for clothes and shoes per year?

  3. #3
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92135011
    hmmm...is THAT right...so that means that for every person who spends 10000 bux on audio gear that lasts 10 years...there are an equivalent of 24 people who dont spend a penny in 10 years.

    But for practical purposes, this figure isnt very descriptive. If I buy some speakers, lets say, then I probably wont buy new speakers until a while later. With stuff like groceries, we are constantly buying it. However, its still a very interesting statistic.
    Well, you figure that with over 100 million households in the U.S., that means that the market for audio equipment is at least $4 billion per year (I read somewhere that the specialty loudspeaker market totals about $500 million per year, so it's not a huge industry that we're talking about), and that's actually in line with other data that I've seen. The way that the market is going, the trend right now is more towards the video end and audio stores going to home installation services to keep afloat.

    If you want examples, my parents spent about $900 over a two year period to build their audio system, and in the ensuing 28 years, they have spent NOTHING on audio equipment. Their TV was purchased for $400, and that was 10 years ago. My in-laws spent less than $200 for their mini-system, and that thing's also at least 10 years old. A friend of mine who lives in Manhattan still uses the same $100 mini system that she bought in college, and that was about 15 years ago. One of my best friends from college inherited a 30 year old Sansui receiver and Kenwood amp, and the only things he's bought in the last 15 years was an $80 tape deck, a $100 CD player, and pair of $150 speakers. And I can think of countless others whose only music sources are either mini systems or portable devices. So, it does tend to average out.

    Quote Originally Posted by 92135011
    Hey, you know the average spending for clothes and shoes per year?
    Men's clothing: $436
    Women's clothing: $757
    Footwear: $338

    That's why there are a lot more clothing stores out there than audio stores!
    Last edited by Woochifer; 04-10-2004 at 07:47 PM.

  4. #4
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    Damn it! I knew it! I knew it!!!
    So its not a stereotype! Women like to shop more and spend money on clothes and stuff. Well...guess it balances out...more male audiophiles and autophiles.

  5. #5
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92135011
    Damn it! I knew it! I knew it!!!
    So its not a stereotype! Women like to shop more and spend money on clothes and stuff. Well...guess it balances out...more male audiophiles and autophiles.
    LOL, well here's another oddity for you:

    Men's footwear: $103
    Women's footwear: $157
    Boy's footwear: $41
    Girl's footwear: $37

    Obviously, something clicks in at puberty!

  6. #6
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    Why don't I believe the figures for womens clothing and shoes? Obviously they haven't gone looking into their closets ...

  7. #7
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan
    Why don't I believe the figures for womens clothing and shoes? Obviously they haven't gone looking into their closets ...
    Yup, you would assume differently given how our consumer culture emphasizes that shop 'til you drop edict. But, you also need to consider the income levels. The average (mean) HH income is about $49,000, with an average 2.5 person household with 1.5 wage earners and 2 cars. Also consider that nationally, about half of all households earn less than $40,000. Once you figure the basic expenses just to run a household, it doesn't leave a whole lot for other free spending at that wage level. I can tell you that my wife spent less those averages on her wardrobe last year, and our combined income is higher than the average.

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    Average is 2 cars a household???
    wow...I never thought it was that high...2cars for 2.5 people is quite a lot of cars considering that some of these 2.5 people are underaged and cant drive. If half of all households earn less than 40k a year...why people owning so many cars? Time to take the bus....

  9. #9
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92135011
    Average is 2 cars a household???
    wow...I never thought it was that high...2cars for 2.5 people is quite a lot of cars considering that some of these 2.5 people are underaged and cant drive. If half of all households earn less than 40k a year...why people owning so many cars? Time to take the bus....
    Actually, it's 1.9 vehicles per households, so I exaggerated!

    Another thing to consider is that rural households average somewhere in the $30k range, and they make up about (I believe) one-third of the population. If you live out in a rural area, there's not a lot of bus service and a car's the only way to do basic errands if you don't live within walking distance of a downtown area.

    Also, higher income households ($70k and over) average 3.1 persons AND 2.9 vehicles.

    Average expenditure for vehicle purchases: $3,778
    Average expenditure for fuel: $1,252

    Compared to how much is spent on audio equipment, cars are a HUGE expense (even more than groceries ... I guess we love our mobility).

    Of course, considering that my car's been paid off for six years and I spend only about $60 a month on gas, my spending pattern's not exactly typical and that leaves a lot of disposable income that can go to other places ... like a home theatre system. The last three years, I've been averaging about $1,150 a year on audio purchases, but so far this year I've spent nothing on the system itself. With an average annual spending of $41 on audio equipment, I guess my audio expenditures are now covered for the next 81 years!
    Last edited by Woochifer; 04-13-2004 at 05:17 PM.

  10. #10
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    Actually most married couples have multiple vehicles. One for each parent and possibly one per child that is of driving age. Single people could have one recreational vehicle, a work truck, and a motorcycle to cruise around on.

  11. #11
    Forum Regular wasch_24's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    LOL, well here's another oddity for you:

    Men's footwear: $103
    Women's footwear: $157
    Boy's footwear: $41
    Girl's footwear: $37

    Obviously, something clicks in at puberty!
    No, it's not puberty. It's all that walking in the mall

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