Families Skimped on Clothes, Shoes as Housing Costs Leaped 12% in 2009

Fresh figures on last year indicate that Israeli households skimped on clothing and footwear as their housing costs jumped. Average household spending on shoes and apparel fell by more than 5%, while expenditure on housing leaped by more than 12%, the statistics show.

Households spent an average of NIS 13,000 on consumer products and services in 2009, the Central Bureau of Statistics said yesterday.

Despite the troubled times after the onset of the global economic crisis in 2008, the figure poses an increase of 2% after adjustment for inflation compared with the year before.

The figures also show that the biggest expenditure in 2009, as in previous years, was housing: Nearly a quarter of the total, 24.4%, went on that alone.

The average figure for spending on housing came to NIS 3,168 in 2009, which was a big leap - by more than 12% from the year before.

The average household in Israel last year consisted of 3.3 people.

In the uppermost decile, the average number of people per household was 2.6. In the bottommost, the average was 4.4.

The average number of breadwinners per household was 1.3, the Central Bureau of Statistics said.

After housing, the second-biggest expenditure was transportation and telecommunications, on which households forked over an average of NIS 2,485 a month, or 19.1% of their total expenditure.

The third-biggest expenditure was food. Including fresh fruits and vegetables, households averaged NIS 2,120 a month on food, or 16.3% of their total expenditure, the bureau said.

Another heavy item is education, culture and entertainment, on which Israeli households averaged spending of NIS 1,812 a month, or 13.9% of their total.

Household spending on education, culture and entertainment shot up by 14% last year compared with 2008, the biggest increase in any of the items.

The richest 20% of the population spent 2.7 times more each month, on average, than the poorest 20%. About half the expenditure of the poorest went on food and housing.

However, while 73.2% of the richest 10% own dishwashers, compared with only 5.8% of the poorest, the percentage owning cellphones is much closer: 99% of the richest and 83% of the poorest.

Another statistic of note is that households bought 60% of their food at supermarket chains, and did nearly 40% of their shopping on Thursdays and Fridays. Almost half, 45.5%, of all meals eaten outside the home, at restaurants and cafes, were on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.