Group Of Friends Enjoying Night Out At Rooftop Bar

Where Consumers Are Spending Their Money

By Rieva Lesonsky

The economy is definitely on the upswing and Americans have more spending money in our pockets. So what are we buying? According to Mintel, consumers are “splurging” on entertainment and other activities and spending less on clothing, shoes and accessories.

These findings are revealed in Mintel’s American Lifestyles report, which tracks spending across major consumer markets. According to the report consumers spent 3.9 percent more in 2015 than they did in 2014.

Some highlights include:

We’re drinking more. Sales of alcohol for in-home consumption rose to $117.5 billion in 2015. And 13 percent of consumers say they’re spending more on drinks when they go out this year.

It’s not just booze, either. The non-alcoholic drink market has grown for the last five years, topping $116 billion in sales in 2015. While soda and juice sales are down, consumers are spending more on bottled water and ready-to-drink coffee and tea.

Indulging in beauty. The beauty and personal care market grew 17 percent between 2010-2015, hitting about $124 billion in sales last year. We’re spending about the same amount on beauty purchases this year as we did in 2013, but Mintel says about 16 percent of consumers are “upgrading” their beauty products and buying more luxurious brands. This is particularly true in the hair care field.

We’re winding up. While the overall clothing, footwear and accessories markets have grown (nearing $432 billion last year), Mintel says the growth has been “slow, but steady.” Smartwatch sales are poised to take off, however. While only 6 percent of adults bought one last year, 21 percent say they’re “highly interested” in buying one this year.

Toweling off. As we told you a few weeks ago, Americans are spending more on their homes. Mintel reports the home and garden market grew 20 percent between 2010 and 2015, reaching about $451.1 billion in sales. The strongest gains were in the bathroom linens category.