DBEDT Releases Report on Honolulu Consumer Spending

April 25, 2016, 12:13 PM HST · Updated April 25, 12:13 PM
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Honolulu skyline. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Honolulu skyline. Photo by Wendy Osher.

The latest Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s “Honolulu Consumer Spending” report created by DBEDT’s Research and Economic Analysis Division provides data and analysis on spending patterns based on household surveys from Honolulu households during 2013-14.

DBEDT also conducted surveys of households in Neighbor Island counties in 2015; the data will be released in a few weeks. This will be the first time Neighbor Island consumer spending data become available.

Some of the findings in the Honolulu 2013-14 report include:

· Honolulu households spent an average of $62,357 per year, about 75.4% of their gross income (before tax).

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· 71.8% of household expenditures were spent in three basic needs categories—housing, food and transportation.

· Housing was the largest expenditure category, comprising an average of 43.2% of total expenditures or $26,982 per year.

· Expenditures for food were 14.7% or $9,171 per year, transportation was 13.9% or $8,714 per year, and personal insurance and retirement savings were 8.2% or $5,118 per year.

· Compared with 2004-05, Honolulu consumers spent much more on housing in 2013-14, increasing from 31.7 to 43.2%. Spending share in food stayed the same at 14.7%. Spending on transportation decreases from 18.1 to 13.9%.

· Compared with the US average, Honolulu consumers spent more on housing (43.2% for Honolulu, 33.4% for US) and on food (14.7% for Honolulu, 12.8% for US), but spent less on transportation (13.9% vs. 17.3%).

· Households with higher educational attainment spent more annually. The master’s, professional and PhD group category spent $76,872 per year; spending for the group with less than a high school diploma was at $33,166.

· Homeowners with mortgages spent an annual average of $37,651 or 46% of their total annual expenditures for housing-related expenses. Home renters spent an annual average of $24,424 or 47.3% of their total annual expenditures for housing-related expenditures; although the amounts are different, the percentages are similar due to the mortgage group having a higher total annual expenditure amount.

· Military-households spent significantly more on housing, with an average expenditure of $38,391 or 54.8% of their total annual expenditures versus non-military-households with an average expenditure of $26,062 or 41.8% of total annual expenditures.

· Among all the goods and services purchased by an average Honolulu household, 1.2% of them were purchased online, representing about $720 per household per year.

About the Report

Historically, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics published the consumer expenditure data for Honolulu County, which was compiled from the US Census Bureau’s Consumer Expenditure Survey. However, the report covering consumer expenditure data for Honolulu County has not been published since 2005 due to federal government budget cuts and this has left a void in Hawai‘i’s data portfolio.

The consumer spending data are useful for formulating tax policies such as tax exemptions on certain food and medical services and tax credits for food and other expenditures for low income households.

The data are valuable for assessing Hawai‘i’s cost of living, business climate, quality of life and estimating the income needs for households to be self-sufficient.

Consumer spending data are also used by businesses for planning purposes. New residents to the state could also use this data to estimate their household budgets by spending category.

The full report is available online.

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