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How people from different parts of the world spend their extra money

Personal income in the United States has been steadily rising. But once bills and the rent are paid, how do consumers spend their discretionary dollars?

Consumers in North America are most likely to spend on technology, according to a new global survey from Acceleration Partners, a UK-based digital marketing agency. A disproportionate amount (34%) of North American respondents said tech-related purchases were their biggest sector spend.

In contrast, Europeans and South Americans value fashion and beauty, with 31% and 17% of respondents, respectively, identifying the sector as the area they spend the most of their extra income.

Asians prioritize food and drink, with 16% of respondents stating that they spend the majority of their discretionary income on wining and dining.

Chiang Mai, Thailand – Asians spend most of their extra income on food.
Chiang Mai, Thailand – Asians spend most of their extra income on food.

Australians, on the other hand, prioritize travel, with 24% of respondents claiming they spend their leftover income on both domestic and international travel. Eighteen percent of African respondents said they spend most of their extra income on leisure pursuits.

Who feels they have the most money to spend?

Overall, Asians felt the most flush with cash. Respondents, on average, said they have 27% of their income left after paying for all of life’s necessities. (This includes any potential savings, of course). North American consumers said that 14%, on average, of their income fell in the discretionary category.

Australians have the least amount of extra money to spend, stating that they have a mere 6% of their income, on average, to use after covering all their expenses. Given the fact that Australia’s living costs are outpacing the rest of the world, it isn’t too much of a surprise that Australians feel like they have very limited resources to spend on things beyond the basics.

1,500 respondents from six continents (excluding Antarctica) participated in the online survey, all of whom were at least 21 years old and employed full-time.

Melody Hahm is a senior writer at Yahoo Finance, covering entrepreneurship, technology and real estate. Follow her on Twitter @melodyhahm.

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