America's consumers spent more than $12 trillion last year on all kinds of stuff, including new cars, furniture, clothes, groceries, beauty products, electronics, visits to doctors and dentists, and tickets to sporting events and movies.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis produces a slew of data on what people buy and how much they spend. It's a critical piece of economic information. Consumer spending is a major shaper of the overall U.S. economy, accounting for more than two-thirds of GDP. Beyond that, the statistics can help entrepreneurs and other business people make more informed decisions, offering insights into shoppers' buying behavior.