Americans spend a prodigious amount of money on entertainment, recreation, and hobbies. In terms of the national economy, consumer spending on recreational and entertainment products and services in total was $633.9 billion in 2002, or 8.6 percent of the nation's $7.385 trillion consumer economy. That includes $35.3 billion spent on admissions to sports, movies, entertainment, and other amusements, as well as consumer product purchases, which are the focus of this book and include everything from books, magazines, and newspapers to sporting equipment, toys, video, audio, DVD hardware and software, and craft supplies among others.
Americans spend more on recreation and entertainment than clothing, accessories, and jewelry, which totaled $405.5 billion in 2002. And spending on recreation is 85 percent of what we spend on household operations, which amounted to $748.3 billion in 2002 and includes such essentials as furniture, furnishings, utilities, telephone, and services.
Americans spend about the same amount of money on entertainment and recreation as the entire GNP of Canada.
Placed into a global content, Americans spend about the same amount of money on entertainment and recreation as the entire GNP of Canada, Australia, or Spain. Further, our expenditures in this area are about half of the size of the GNP of the United Kingdom.