‘Tis the season for turning otherwise normal people into up-at-dawn, deal-seeking lunatics. What better time than the holidays to look at how consumers — in the U.S. and around the world — spend their discretionary dollars (as opposed to outlays on necessities like food and housing).
For a U.S. snapshot, Forbes turned to SpendingPulse, the economic research arm of MasterCard Worldwide, to break down Americans’ discretionary spending — all $1.13 trillion of it in 2009, slightly down from $1.16 trillion in 2008 — across 10 categories: air travel, auto parts and service, electronics and appliances, furniture, lodging, apparel, department stores, jewelry, luxury (excluding jewelry) and restaurants.
With personal savings on the rise in the wake of the latest downturn, that grand total looks like it will slip again, to $1.03 trillion, in 2010.
* Air Travel
Total Spent in 2009: $41.9 billion
* Auto Parts & Service
Total Spent in 2009: $164 billion
* Department Stores
Total Spent in 2009: $72.5 billion
* Electronics & Appliances
Total Spent in 2009: $99.5 billion
Total Spent in 2009: $88.8 billion
Total Spent in 2009: $27.5 billion
Total Spent in 2009: $177 billion
Total Spent in 2009: $392 billion
Photo by flickr/photofunia.