What Does the Average Family Spend on Clothing?

Average American families spend approximately $1,600 to $1,800 annually on clothing, shoes and accessories, which translates to between 3 and 4 percent of their household incomes. The numbers for expenditure on clothes remains largely the same over the years and even across income gaps. However, clothing sales, like other commodity items, rise and fall periodically over time, creating slight fluctuations in their numbers.

Between 2011 and 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, lists the average American incomes as just over $49,000 for 2011, then just over $51,000 for the next 2 years. Clothing, shoes and accessories account for the lowest group of average American expenses. The amount families spend on clothing remains the same among income divides too. Families earning under $19,000 annually allocate just under four percent of their budgets to clothing. Families with incomes between $50,000 and $69,000, considered the middle class, spend just over three percent each year on clothes, while upper-class families, with incomes exceeding $150,000, spend about the same as the lowest class on clothes.

In addition to clothing, Americans historically spend certain amounts of their personal incomes on items in other categories. Cash contributions follow clothing, accounting for around $1,800 of Americans' annual expenses. American families in the lower and middle classes spend more on food prepared in their homes, while the upper class allocates more funds to take-out food; this group puts a considerably larger amount of money away each year for retirement.