It used to be that if you walked into any house, there was always a formal dining room and living room.  As life has become more modern and informal, though, the formality of a living room, where everything had to be pristine and seemed to be meant for anything besides ‘living’ in, has become less important.  Similarly, in many more modern or newly renovated houses, formal dining rooms are less common.  Instead, dining rooms have become part of the kitchen to create one bigger more informal gathering room.  After looking at this month’s Retail Sales report, we wonder if the house of the next generation will even have a kitchen at all!

The table below shows the various groups that comprise retail sales and what share each sector accounts for in terms of total sales.  Topping the list at over 20% is Motor Vehicles and Parts, but right behind Motor Vehicles is Food and Beverage Stores at 12%.  Everyone has to eat, so it makes perfect sense that Food & Beverage Stores account for such a large chunk of total sales.  While everyone has to eat, where they eat is another story, and not far behind Food & Beverage Stores in terms of total sales is Bars and Restaurants at 11.7%.

The chart below compares the historical share of total sales that eating in (Food and Beverage Stores) and eating out (Bars and Restaurants) have accounted for.  With “Eating In” accounting for 12.31% of total sales and “Eating Out” accounting for 11.73%, the 0.58 percentage point gap between the two categories is the narrowest it has ever been.  What’s even more fascinating about the shift in eating trends over the last 20+ years is the fact that even as Americans have changed where they eat (out vs home), the percentage of total sales that “food and beverage” account for has held steady.  Combined, the two categories currently account for 24.05% of total retail sales, and that compares to a historical average of 23.64% going all the way back to 1995.

In the house of the future, what will replace the kitchen?

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