Do You Spend Like an Average American?

The folks over at Visual Economics put together a fantastic graphic to show just how much the average American spends on entertainment in a year, and just what they’re spending it on. So, what’s the prognosis? Do you fall under the average spending level, or are you far above?

Click the picture below for the full blown version, or visit Visual Economics, and take a look at some of these numbers. According to the chart, we’re shelling out an average of $2,827 on entertainment every year, though it’s higher in the West and lower in the Midwest and South. In fact, the West dominates all entertainment spending categories except one. The Northeast, which falls short in every other spending category, dominates when it comes to A/V gear.

It shouldn’t be too surprising that Americans in the lowest 20% income-wise have cut their entertainment spending significantly. In fact, so have all income brackets except the top 20%, which has kept spending normally. Most of the cutbacks, according to Visual Economics, are in the more expensive things like theme parks and other out-of-home trips.

Despite what the folks in Hollywood say about piracy killing the business, ticket sales are up year after year, with 2008 being the one exception. 1,421,000 tickets were sold in 2009. A lot of the credit for that, obviously, goes to ‘Avatar.’ Say what you like about the movie (I know I do), but from a financial standpoint, it’s brilliant.

One of the most interesting parts of the chart is the rental and sell-through spending for videos. It starts in 1999, when VHS was still dominant, and you can watch the sales trickle off from there. There was still $0.1 billion (or $100 million) spent on VHS in 2008, according to the chart. That comes as a bit of a surprise, doesn’t it? Of course, DVD quickly overcame VHS. Blu-ray and digital formats started to jump significantly as well.

So, take a look. Where do you fall on the spending chart? I’ll have to add up my ticket stubs from last year. But for 2009, I think I fall nicely below the average. This year may well be a different story.

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