How Brits spend differently to Americans

Is what you spend dictated by where you live?

According to a report by VisualDNA – which collects data from personality quizzes and is based on indexing – people living in the UK are 3 x more likely to be careful spenders than those in the US. There are all sorts of data to back this up, from the way that Brits approach borrowing personal loans and using credit cards, to what we spend our money on. So what are the key spending traits that set Brits apart from Americans.

Brits are shifting towards the ‘experience economy’

According to the Office for National Statistics we are now much more likely to spend on experiences – such as eating out – than on products. So, we have switched our focus from buying ‘stuff’ to buying things we can experience instead, such as a restaurant meal or a hotel stay. In comparison, US spending on restaurants and hotels is above average compared to the rest of the world but less than the spend in a European country like the UK (according to Eurostat’s The EU in the World).

In the UK there’s no need to spend on healthcare (yet)

With the NHS still standing – for now at least – British budgets are very different to American ones when it comes to spending on healthcare. In fact, households in the US spend a larger proportion of income on healthcare than any other country in the world. Almost 21% of total household spend in the US goes on healthcare whereas in the UK it’s less than 1%.

Americans are more emotional spenders

A survey looking at the way that Brits and Americans respond to advertising in terms of spending habits established that Americans are more likely to be encouraged to spend by emotive advertising. Brits tend to get less swept up in feelings and are more likely to be cautious about what they do with their cash.

Brits are more likely to spend big at Christmas

If you’re looking at the festive season as a barometer of the ways in which Brits are different to Americans when it comes to spending habits then it’s worth noting that we’re likely to spend more. The average British household spent upwards of £900 on Christmas 2016, including the turkey, gifts, travel, clothes and alcohol. To be fair, the US wasn’t that far behind but the average Christmas spend across the Atlantic came in at around £720.

But we’re all in the same boat when it comes to travel – unless you factor in Brexit

Annual holidays are something that the Brits love with a passion and the average family is forecast to spend around £1,330 on their summer holiday this year. In America, holiday spending sits roughly around the same figure – £1,392, according to Allianz’s Vacation Confidence Index. What makes the big difference though is Brexit, which former Prime Minister David Cameron claimed will add an extra £230 to the cost of an annual break for the average Brit, making it more expensive than ever to be a Brit abroad.

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