Although consumers are spending more today, their spending remains on products that are considered necessities, according to MarketingCharts.

A Gallup survey found that while consumers continue to spend more on what they need, they are not spending more on the things that they want. For example, some products have shown an increase, such as shopping. The top and lower three categories showing an increase are (along with increase percentage over 2014):

  • Groceries: 55 percent
  • Utilities: 45 percent
  • Healthcare: 43 percent
  • Retirement investments: 17 percent
  • Consumer Electronics: 18 percent
  • Travel: 19 percent

In the bottom 6 net spending category trends—these are the categories in which more survey respondents reported a decrease in their spending—5 included the following discretionary spending items:

  • Leisure activities
  • Clothing
  • Consumer electronics
  • Dining out
  • Travel

According to MarketingCharts, the Gallup poll revealed that 32 percent of survey respondents reported spending more on cable or satellite, while 14 percent indicated having spent less. According to the Gallup data, it appears as if some money not being spent on gas is being spent on discretionary spending items, such as leisure activities and dining. Some is also being spent in nondiscretionary categories that include cable or satellite, utilities, and healthcare.

Since the last survey in June 2014, respondents have consistently spent more on groceries, utilities, and healthcare. These categories have also remained in the top five, noted Gallup. The category that revealed a major spending shift during the year was “gasoline or fuel,” Gallup pointed out, citing the significant declines in gasoline prices. In March, 21 percent of Americans indicated they were spending more; 50 percent indicated the same in June 2014, while 13 percent indicated that they were spending less last June and 55 percent indicated they were spending less in March 2014.

Gallup concluded that net spending—which accounts for how many Americans are spending more within a category, less the percentage of Americans reporting that they are spending less—has remained stable in all categories, except for gas and fuel.

The results of the Gallup poll were based on telephone interviews conducted February 23-March 3, 2015 and involved a random sampling of 1,525 adults, who were aged 18 and older, and who lived in all 50 United States and the District of Columbia. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50 percent cellphone and 50 percent landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone and region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers were selected using random-digit-dial methods, according to Gallup.