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Consumer Power: How Americans Spend Their Money.

Consumer Power: How Americans Spend Their Money. By Margaret Ambry. Ithaca, NY, New Strategist Publications, 1991, 461 pp. $69.95, plus $3 for shipping. Available from New Strategist Publications, P.O. Box 242, Ithaca, NY 14851.

In this handy volume, Margaret Ambry, editor-in-chief of New Strategist,

tells the reader exactly how Americans spent their money in 1988. She discusses expenditures for all household products and services, devoting a chapter to each major category--food, housing, transportation, and so forth. Spending patterns are ouflined by age, income, and type of households.

ConsumerPower is based on data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey, which, in addition to collecting data on household spending patrems, also collects demographic and economic information on households. The Consumer Expenditure Survey is the largest survey of its kind in the United States and is conducted each year by the Bureau of the Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Because age, income, and household type are the best predictors of spending patterns, BLS analyzes expenditures for each major household product or service by the three variables.

Data in the age tables indicate that the real spending thrust for the 1990's will come from the middle-aged (ages 45 to 54) group. The tables give minute details--for example, how much householders 75 years or older spend on cheese.

The income tables show which product and service markets are fiat or upscale, and which income groups are the best customers.

The author warns marketers to keep an eye on the changing household. Although the number of married couples will increase during the 1990's, the number of people who live alone will grow three times as fast. The spending power of married couples is clearly revealed in the tables detailing spending by household type.

Consumer Power provides the reader with spending indexes, budget shares, market shares, spending trends for the last 5 years, and spending projections to 2000. These projections estimate how spending will be affected by a shifting age structure. For example, middle-aged households will boost the food-away-from-home market from $153 billion in 1988 to $171 billion in 2000 (in 1988 dollars).

Ambry's book is comprehensive and clearly written--it will also serve as a reference work for researchers.
COPYRIGHT 1992 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 1992
Words:365
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