Describing a bar chart

Describing a bar chart

Learn how to write about trends in a bar chart.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the text and tips and do the exercises.


Reading text

Describing a bar chart

The chart shows the sales revenue of a selection of home video entertainment formats in the USA in 2017. It also shows the percentage change from the previous year.

Online video streaming was the most popular format in 2017. US consumers spent $9.8 billion on services such as Netflix, which was a rise of 32 per cent from the previous year. For the average American, this accounted for nearly half of their spending on video entertainment at home.

At the same time, customers were moving away from the three physical formats in the chart. DVD and Blu-ray sales dropped by 14 per cent over the twelve-month period to $4.5 billion in 2017, and rent-by-post revenues went down by 20 per cent to $0.5 billion. DVD rental shops saw the largest decline, as spending fell by 21 per cent to just $0.4 billion.

Overall, there was a clear downward trend in spending on physical video formats, as they all showed relatively low sales and they were all in decline. However, there was an upward trend in paying for streaming.

Please note: This page was designed for writing practice only. Information in the chart may not be accurate.


  1. In the first paragraph, give basic details about the chart including what it shows, where it refers to and when.
  2. When you describe chart data, be specific. Mention the category and figure, e.g. Online video streaming was the most popular format in 2017. US consumers spent $9.8 billion ...
  3. A trend is a change over time. To describe trends, focus on what is increasing or decreasing compared to some time in the past, e.g. ... which was a rise of 32 per cent from the previous year.
  4. If several categories show the same trend, talk about them together, e.g. customers were moving away from the three physical formats in the chart.
  5. State the units of measurement, e.g. US consumers spent $9.8 billion.
  6. Many of the verbs for up and down trends can also be used as nouns, e.g. Spending fell by 21 per cent = There was a 21 per cent fall in spending. (You can write % or per cent, but be consistent.)
  7. Write a conclusion. Say what we learn from the data overall.

Task 1

Task 2

Task 3


Worksheet209.08 KB

Language level

Average: 4.8 (12 votes)

Submitted by GiulianaAndy on Sun, 04/07/2021 - 22:49

I noticed that here in Peru, which is the country where I live, people spend their money on their pets. Pet industry has been growing since 1994 and it isn't showing any signs of slowing down. Here people are taking out pet insurance plans to help pay for medical procedures and help their pets to live longer. I think humans and their pets are attached at the hip. Overall, humans have begun to treat their pets the same way they treat themselves. To that end, pet owners (at least in my country) are purchasing indulgent items like premium pet food, daily supplements, tech gadget, clothing and even matching street wear

Submitted by Ehsan on Wed, 09/06/2021 - 06:54

unfortunately, inflation is so high in my country. so people invest their money to maintain the value of their money.

Submitted by Abrarhussain on Sun, 28/02/2021 - 14:13

The trend I have noticed in the way people spend money in my country for online business. The people spend their money for online shopping to increase their businesses. The trend of online shopping is most popular and fast track easy way to build up any business in my country . The latest technology is a very easy way to saving of time ,look and buy and click and collect policy is very easy and fast way of online businesses development.

Submitted by AulianFr on Fri, 26/02/2021 - 18:43

Since my country is starting to industrialize its economy, the people here begin to buy things that are not necessary. We used to just spend our money on essential products when we really needed them. Over time, the trend shows that more money is spent on miscellaneous stuff that's not quite necessary. Things like a sleeping lamp, phone case, Tumblr lamp, and others are getting more popular these days. Usually, people buy these because they see them being on sale on online shopping websites. These products are usually cute and aesthetically pleasing so that they really lure the customers to buy them. This new trend indicates that the economy in my country is improving because the more people buy this stuff, it means that they have enough money to support their essential needs.

Submitted by German on Tue, 16/02/2021 - 02:27

I have noticed that the people spend much money in experiences. The people, particularly the youngs, want to spend thier money not in things but in experiences.They want to travel, go to diferents places, meet people and learn about the world before that they to buy for instance a house or a car.
Profile picture for user danisep

Submitted by danisep on Wed, 28/10/2020 - 20:28

People now spend money in technology and services and my country is not different, for that reason some brands not sell products anymore and instead change to sell services, I remember when you could buy antivirus, offices and adobe on dvd's and you had it forever, but now you buy a subscriptions for months or a year and the same gonna happen with video games, consoles gonna be replaced by cloud gaming services it is more profitable for companies.

Submitted by YaMaCa on Thu, 01/10/2020 - 15:05

Due to the pandemic period and lockdown, the people spent more of their time on Netflix.

Submitted by kyawkyawsoezhu on Wed, 02/09/2020 - 16:31

I've noted that most businesses spend on online advertising like Facebook ads more than physical or television advertisement like hanging big billboards in the middle of the city.

Submitted by IKEDA on Sat, 29/08/2020 - 16:35

I've been thinking that digital consumption is soaring in my country, e.g. purchasing digital items on smartphone games, social tippings like Super Chat on YouTube, and various digital subscription services. While the trend was rising steadily year by year recently, after the Covid-19 pandemic, its growth might be faster than ever.