Sunday, March 1, 2009

Who's Buying What?

That's the question that Good Magazine asks. Their answer is this map graphic.



It measures 20 countries that seem to have been chosen more or less arbitrarily by per capita expenditure in 5 categories: clothing, household goods, alcohol and tobacco, recreation, and electronics.

It's unclear why these particular countries were chosen - maybe they just had the best data? Who knows. At any rate, Scandinavia is way overrepresented, as are the Anglophone countries. Africa - not for the first time in history - gets the short end of the stick.

The biggest consumers in each category are:
Clothing - Norway
Household Goods - Norway
Alcohol and Tobacco - Norway
Recreation - Norway
Electronics - Norway

A clean sweep! And the least consumptive, so to say?
Clothing - India
Household Goods - Pakistan
Alcohol and Tobacco - India
Recreation - Pakistan ($1!)
Electronics - Pakistan

A clean sweep for South Asia, at any rate. Though this seems like the sort of competition where you wouldn't want to come in either first or last.

The graphic also indicates the top item of these five categories in every surveyed country. In all ten industrialized countries, it's recreation. Of the ten developing countries, clothing is the top item in 7, household goods in 2, and alcohol and tobacco in 1. (Go, Brazil! At least one nation has its priorities in order.)

50 comments:

Anthony said...

According to one of the commenters on the Good website, the countries that were chosen were the 10 highest spenders and the 10 lowest spenders per capita.

If that is true, the top 10 does make sense, though I'm a bit surprised Australia makes the list over another western European nation like France or Holland. On the flip side, there must be some missing data for the bottom 10. How does Nigeria make the list as opposed to most other sub-saharan African countries that are poorer than it? Same goes for S. America. Colombia and Brazil are two of the richer countries in S. America.

I seriously question Good's data for Nigeria. Why do they spend so much more than any of the other "bottom 10"? And why so much on clothing compared with everything else?

Anyway, great post as usual!

Chachy said...

Yes, fishy, isn't it? I suspect they were trying for some compromise between best data and geographical representativeness, and Nigeria made the cut based on the latter rather than the former criterion. But regardless, those certainly aren't the 10 lowest spenders in the world.

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