During the worst recession in decades consumers refused to cut back on one thing: their kids.
Collectively, families spent about $9.7 billion less on apparel last year compared to a year earlier, yesterday’s Consumer Expenditure Survey from the Labor Department showed. But it wasn’t from making their children wear hand-me-downs: families spent almost the same amount on kids — boys and girls — younger than 16 last year. But they reined in their spending on apparel for men and women 16 years and older, shoes and other clothing items.
Consumers didn’t pinch pennies on entertainment for their kids either. Families spent $2,835 apiece on entertainment last year, and a large chunk of that went to toys, hobbies, playground equipment and pets. Spending on that category climbed $144 in 2008, compared to a year earlier. Americans also spent nearly $50 more on audiovisual equipment and services last year.