United States flag United States: Buying and Selling

Advertising and marketing in the United States

Marketing opportunities

Consumer Profile
The average age has been more or less constant since 2010 despite a slight upward trend. It reached 38.6 years in 2022. Around 15.6% of the population is under 13 years old, 67% ages between 13 to 64 years old and 17.4% is over 65 years old. The population growth rate is 0.6%. The average size of a household is 2.51 people, with 28.5% of households living alone, 35% of people living in two and 15% of households of 3 people (Census Bureau, 2021. The percentage of women out of the total population in the US is 50.5%. About 83.1% of the population lives in urban areas (Data Reportal, 2022). The most populated areas are in the eastern half of the United States (Great Lakes, Northeast, East and Southeast) and in the western states. The least populated populations are mountain areas, deserts and boreal forests in the extreme north. In 2020, the main cities by population are New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Philadelphia and San Antonio. The level of education is high with 91.1% of adults aged 25 to 64 having completed secondary education, 50.1% of the population 25 to 64 years old who had attained a tertiary degree. The main occupations are administrative and trade jobs, followed by health, management, business, finance, transportation and construction.
Purchasing Power
The GDP per capita PPP in the United States is 63,206.5 USD in 2020. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean wage for workers in the United States in May 2021 was $58,260 per year. Purchasing power has decreased recently, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the United States, the average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is USD 51,147 a year, much higher than the OECD average of USD 30,490 a year, and the highest figure in the OECD. The personal consumption expenditure grew by 6.6% in March 2022 compared to a year before, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The Gini index on income inequality has stabilized at 0.41 since 2016. Overall, women earn just 83.8% the amount their male counterparts make, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the first quarter of 2022. Wages in the east of the country are higher, while the south has the lowest wages. Asian-born households have the highest median wage, ahead of the non-Hispanic white population, the Hispanic population and the Afro-American population.
Consumer Behaviour
The United States is a very developed consumer society. While the population had a fairly high level of confidence in the past, the financial crisis first and the Coronavirus crisis later has pushed consumers to move towards lower-priced products. US consumers are more likely to pay attention to promotions and compare prices. The most popular supermarkets are Walmart and Sam's Club (more than a fifth of market share), followed by Kroger, Albertsons, Costco etc. Americans are generally willing to travel to major shopping centres. Most US consumers shop and buy on various channels, making the whole buying process long and complicated. For retailers, omni-channel selling - both online and offline - is key to success. Online shopping increased sharply during the Covid-19 pandemic and remained dynamic in 2022. During the peak pandemic, the second quarter of 2020, consumers spent $200.72 billion online with US retailers, up 44.4% from $138.96 billion in the same quarter of the previous year, according to the Department of Commerce. Retail e-commerce sales for the first quarter of 2022 was $250 billion, an increase of 2.4% from the fourth quarter of 2021 (Census Bureau).
The Conference Board’s index - index of consumer confidence – decreased by 0.3% in April 2022 to 119.2, following a 0.1% increase in March. The index is nonetheless up 0.9% over the six-month period from October 2021 to April 2022 (Conference Board).

Generally, consumers are open to international companies and brands. According to McKinsey's August 2020 report, the COVID-19 crisis has caused a surge in new activity, with an astonishing 75% of US consumers experiencing new purchasing behaviour in response to economic pressures, shop closures and changing priorities. Overall, 36% of consumers have tried a new product brand and 25% have incorporating a new private-label brand. Among consumers who have tried different brands, 73% intend to continue to incorporate the new brands into their routines. Gen Z and high income consumers are more inclined to change brands. Social networks have a large impact on consumers, 34% of Generation Z make purchases through social media every single day. Moreover, social media creates opportunities for virtually every type of brand to engage with their customers: food and foodservice brands have the highest overall social media following, with clothing and footwear companies in second place. When buying online, almost 80% of US consumers indicated that they preferred using a debit or credit card. Some 71% of consumers are worried about big data and 34% do not trust tech companies with regard to personal data.

Among consumer trends in the United States 'Made in America' is an important issue. Some 70% of Americans consider it significant to buy American products. Also, responsible consumption is increasingly attracting consumers who want sustainable, transparent, clean products.  Some 48% of consumers say they want to change their habits to reduce their impact on the environment. Young people are even more concerned about the subject and are willing to pay more to reduce their footprint. The second-hand market is constantly growing and buying and selling websites are multiplying. The $35 billion secondhand apparel market will more than double to $82 billion by 2026 according to the ThredUp report. The collaborative economy is highly developed in the United States, especially in large cities. The trends that emerged during the pandemic persisted in 2021 and are expected to continue in 2022. Consumers want to save money, to eat healthier products and to make socially responsible choices (McKinsey, 2022).
Consumers Associations
US Government , Lodge a Consumer Complaint
CR , Consumer Association
CFA , Federation of American Consumers
Main Advertising Agencies
IPG - Interpublic Group
Omnicom Group
Team One

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Latest Update: July 2024