indicatorThe Owl

Restaurants accounted for about a third of spending on food in Alberta in 2019

Alberta households spent an average of $79,849 on goods and services in 2019, up 8.4 per cent from 2017

By ATB Economics 28 January 2021 2 min read

As Bob Dylan says in his Academy Award-winning song from the film Wonder Boys, “things have changed.” Statistics Canada agrees, noting in a recent report on household spending that “the pandemic has changed almost every facet of our lives, including how we spend our money.”

We know, for example, that spending on air travel is down due to travel restrictions. It will,  however, be some time before we have all the data we need to fully understand just how spending changed during the pandemic.

In the meantime, “new data from the Survey of Household Spending explores how we spent our money in 2019 and provides a benchmark to measure how much spending habits have changed since then.”

Some of the Alberta highlights include:

Alberta households spent an average of $79,849 on goods and services in 2019, up 8.4 per cent from 2017 (spending statistics were not collected for 2018). The national average was $68,980, up 7.9 per cent from 2017.

Spending was the highest in Alberta followed by British Columbia ($77,511). Spending was the lowest in Prince Edward Island ($56,662) followed by New Brunswick ($58,191).

The three largest categories—shelter, transportation and food—accounted for 62.0 per cent of household spending in Alberta in 2019.

Shelter is the largest category at 28.3 per cent ($22,591) of total household spending in 2019.

Most shelter spending in 2019 was for a principal residence at 91.0 per cent ($20,569). The share of total shelter spending was 5.4 per cent ($1,110) for other properties and 4.0 per cent ($912) for accomodation away from home.

Alberta households spent an average of $15,632 on transportation in 2019 or about 19.6 per cent of their total outlay on goods and services.

Households spent an average of $13,396 on private transportation (which includes the purchasing, leasing or renting of cars, trucks and vans plus their operation costs) compared to $1,696 on public transportation. Air travel was the largest component of public transportation at $1,171.

Average spending on city or commuter bus, subway, streetcar and commuter train options came in at $194. (It is important to note here that these are averages across all households whether or not they have a car or use public transit rather than the actual costs of the different options.)

Alberta households spent an average of $11,322 on food in 2019. Just under a third (29.4 per cent) of this was for food purchased from restaurants ($3,334). Average spending for food purchased from stores was $7,988 (70.6 per cent). The food category does not include spending on alcohol.

Answer to the previous trivia question: According to Fortune magazine, the largest company in the world in 2020 as measured by annual revenue is Walmart at $US 524 billion. 

Today’s trivia question: According to Fortune magazine, what is the largest Canadian company as measured by annual revenue in 2020?

The three largest categories—shelter, transportation and food—accounted for 62.0 per cent of household spending in Alberta in 2019

The three largest categories—shelter, transportation and food—accounted for 62.0 per cent of household spending in Alberta in 2019


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