The United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics produces a wealth of statistics for marketing plans and business proposals – you just have to be willing to work a little for the information. The Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) program consists of two surveys, the quarterly Interview Survey and the Diary Survey, that provide information on the buying habits of American consumers, including data on their expenditures, income, and consumer unit (families and single consumers) characteristics. The survey data are collected for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Most of the stats are at the national level, some at the regional (interesting to compare, for instance, home ownership, auto expenses, etc., between West, Midwest, South and Northeast). You can compare expenditures in numerous categories (food, telecommunications, housing, etc.) by various groups (age, ethnicity, income, etc.). Stats can also be compared over a number of surveys – the most recentĀ  data is 2006.

Visit the SCL Biz Guide to Internet Resources for more good websites.