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

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.
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Worksheet209.08 KB

Language level

B1 English level (intermediate)

Submitted by Van wong on Wed, 01/06/2022 - 12:58


People in Hong Kong spend a lot of money on NB shoes, and their prices have risen quickly for some special categories of shoes. Worldwide shoes speculation. Some people need to spend more than that to obtain what they want.

Submitted by summer chu on Thu, 27/01/2022 - 11:26


I noticed that here in China-the country where I live, people spend their money on retail sales. They are willing to spend their money online.

In 2021, the total digital sales revenue grew by 12.5 % from the previous year to XX billion dollars, accounting for 52% of the country’s retail sales, up from 44.8% a year prior. Thanks to e-commerce marketing developing, customers can shop almost all kinds of goods online and their favorite place to buy is Taobao, Tmall, and JD. In Tmall Double 11—11 November each year shopping festival, it achieved a new record of US$84.54 billion in gross merchandise volume

Overall, there is clear upward trend that retail sales of an entire country and it is transacting online.

Submitted by LamVanPhuong on Mon, 15/11/2021 - 16:56


In my country, everyone has usually spent money on fashion, traveling, or spent a lot of money on a nice restaurant to selfie.

Submitted by Suraj paliwal on Sat, 06/11/2021 - 18:41


The trend I noticed in my country is about invest in cryptocurrency. It's a new way of increase money in bank account. The last two years about 3 million people invested their money in cryptocurrency to buy bitcoin and ethercoin. This two cryptocurrency is famous in my country. I'm also planning to invest my money in this.

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 Andrea Valencia on Sun, 21/03/2021 - 20:09

In my country people spend money on motorcycles and food.

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.
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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.
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Submitted by Hennadii on Thu, 13/08/2020 - 15:17

I think my country is in no way different from others in the last trends. We become more digital and less physical. Internet, smartphones and all sort of gadgets changed our life dramatically. We use them more and more day by day. Honestly, I forgot when was the last time I call to order the taxi or pizza. Useful apps on my phone do it without any calls. The same thing with books and movies - you don;t need libraries and DVD rentals anymore. Need to get tickets for the newest film or rail ticket - use your phone. So easy ))

Submitted by mxoubi0 on Tue, 11/08/2020 - 08:13

Teacher, please correct me for the below paragraph and what the score I have to get. "The chart shows the statistics of the customers spent on home video entertainment in the USA and the figures are distributed into four categories which are streaming site/apps, DVD Blue-ray sales, DVD rent-by-post service, and DVD rental from shops so those relative amounts between increase and decrease in one year period between 2016 and 2017. Most people used streaming sites/ apps as the figure had increased up to 32% in just a twelve-month period which they spent around $9 billion. On the other hand, the rest of the categories went down as DVD sales decreased by 14% to $4 billion, and the DVD rent by post service declined by 20% to $1 billion also at the same time the DVD rentals from shops dropped down by 21% to just $1 billion."

Hi mxoubi0,

Sorry, we can't give feedback on writing practice here. But if you have a question about a specific word or phrase in it, please feel free to ask. Or, if you are preparing for the IELTS exam, you can find information about preparation courses here:

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by senes19 on Wed, 22/07/2020 - 11:24

Recently I have noticed that the tendency of people to spend their money on the internet is increasing. Particularly during the pandemi time this tendency is getting more rising. We also clearly see that people's interest and spending on self-development platforms at home has gone up.

Submitted by Ayano on Wed, 22/07/2020 - 00:27

I paid attention to the Net shopping because I thought due to the COVID-19, the number of people who is doing the Net shopping is increase. According to a statistics bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, expenditure of the Net shopping in a household goes up to about sixteen thousand yen in May in 2020. On May last year, the expenditure was about fourteen thousand yen. From this, I found that it is increasing about two thousand yen in only a year. In addition, percentage of using the Net shopping in a household is also rising. In 2020, this percentage is about 50% in May. In 2019, that is about 42% in May. Why are these number increase? I came up to that it is common for us to have own smartphone and people are able to buy anything even if they are at home. In fact, I bought fashion items, DVDs or CDs, and foods. I didn’t like to use smartphone or internet to buy something because I think it is not safe. However, it was easier than I thought. From such a thing, I thought people tend to buy something via internet. Percentage of using the Net shopping in a household is increasing now. This will increase from now, too. We still have to stay home until the number of patients of the COVID-19 is decrease but people always have something to want. Then, companies to produce things using at home would increase. By this thing, I thought that percentage of using the Net shopping in a household will continue to increase. 

Submitted by Nanako Suzuki on Thu, 16/07/2020 - 09:45

I have not some concrete data about how people spend their money in my country, but I think it trends to use sell over the internet and spend their money in Japan when people buy their clothes, livingware, games, foods, machine and so on. Internet is very convenient for many people to buy something which we would like to get even if we do not go to the shops for buying them directly. For example, I often buy and get some two liters mineral water bottles to use 'Amazon' on Internet. I think if would be quite difficult for me to go to buy some two liters plastic bottles to the supermarket directly and bring them home. If you would like to buy not only plastic bottles but also heavy items, if you would like to visit various shops, or if you would not like to go out, online sopping is very good. Various companies are already starting mail-order shopping in Japan. For these reasons, I think many people in Japan spend their money using mail order on Internet. It may be the same in other countries because the Internet is popular all over the world.

Submitted by martin olivares on Sat, 11/07/2020 - 20:11

Streaming services have changed my life! First netflix and then prime video. With these platforms i can sit on my couch and spend a whole day just watching series or movies! My first platform was netflix when i was a kid! I can remember the images! a 13 yo boy watching city of god, by the way, the film is really violent! ahhah Nowadays i dont spend much time watching series but i hope i can watch more series soon

Submitted by Yamamoto Yucca on Wed, 01/07/2020 - 03:19

I don’t really know about trends that the way people spend their money in my country, but I think Japanese people are often saving money compare to other country. There are many people who often think saving money around me especially. I don’t really know about other country, but I think compared to Japanese people are often economizing. However, I feel young women spend a lot of their money for fashion and sweets in Japan recently. I think most of they are focus on photogenic. I think many young women spend their money for fashionable or cute sweets and café especially. For example, pearl tea is popular in Japan since while ago. Many pearl shops of pearl tea were open and so many people go that shop. Many young women’s enthusiasm is incredible. There is always a long queue in front of shop. I think this trend cannot see other country. I notice trend one more thing. I think Japanese people spend a lot of their money eating out and drinking party. They often held drinking party and they often split the bill evenly.
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Submitted by Nr.Nuel on Thu, 30/04/2020 - 13:19

I noticed a trend in 2019 in our country, most of the people who having spent their leisure time through the video watching on YouTube.
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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Sat, 25/04/2020 - 23:28

An average Nigerian spend their average income on video streaming format of home entertainment.
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Submitted by Magedelabd on Thu, 26/03/2020 - 15:47

I noticed in the way people spend their money in my country in the following , food , internet, phone calls. Setting in the coffee.
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Submitted by Nikolaos Stavr… on Thu, 26/03/2020 - 13:27

Well, there are basically two types of people. People rich and poor. I have noticed that trends in the way rich people spend their money show growth on clothing and shoes, and on food outside the home. On the contrary trends in the way, poor people spend their money show a decrease in all these above. Nikolaos PS. Hello Kirk, I started my comment Well,...... could you suggest something else instead of well. Nikolaos

Hello Nikolaos

'Well' is a good choice here. If you wanted to be a bit more formal, you could say something like 'In summary'. Or you could refer directly to the chart by saying something like 'What the chart shows is that there are basically two types ...'

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by jazmin marquez on Tue, 24/03/2020 - 19:42

I have noticed that trends in the way people spend their money in Colombia show growth in spending on education and technology. On the contrary, there was a decrease in the sale of homes because the price of these increased in the last year.

Submitted by M19 on Thu, 05/03/2020 - 14:36

There's been an overall increase in the last 5 years. People used to pay money for basic needs only but today they spend most of it on technology. Over a third of their monthly income is used to stream online movies and on playing games.

Submitted by cittàutopica on Thu, 28/11/2019 - 13:01

In my country ISTAT (National Statistics Institute), a public research organisation, is the main producer of official statistics in the service of citizens and policy-makers. Istat performs recurring studies also on the way Italians spend their money. In addition to specific surveys, I recommend "Noi Italia.100 statistics to understand the country we live in", which annually offers a general framework for understanding also the social aspects of my country.