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: 4.7 (11 votes)
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Submitted by DzhusAngela on Fri, 09/02/2024 - 10:02


I notice that people in my country love try something new. We have trend with cafe or restaurant,so when new cafe open people go because everyone want describe own position about this.

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Submitted by Ramiro Solana on Wed, 18/10/2023 - 22:53


As Argentina is experiencing a significant increase in inflation rates in recent years, I see how consumers are drastically changing their spending behavior, moving from high-cost and leisure goods to short-term goods and services to satisfy their basic needs. such as food, electricity, mobility, health and education. However, as the value of the peso falls every day, there are people who decide to spend it as soon as possible on long-lasting goods such as cars or on small pleasures such as a meal at a restaurant. In the end, all of us who have experienced other inflationary processes in recent decades know that unfortunately the most likely thing is that the next step for our economy will be a severe crisis that will lead to spending and consumption falling practically to zero.

Submitted by Ensiye on Sat, 02/09/2023 - 20:50


to tell the truth, because I mind on my own. I haven't paid attention to this matter . It's a comprehensive question that needs statistical review. For example, On the one hand, How can I guess a woman who is buying three shoes whether she is wasting her money or doing something reasonable? The correctness of her action depends on her revenue and financial situation. On the other hand, I know people who have good financial situations but they just buy gold, and their appearance has nothing to do with their bank account!
Overall, what I see is my society is getting better in all fields. the variety of goods and as a result the right of choice for customers has increased. I think the variety has increased the desire to buy.

Submitted by Lupsbilinguee on Tue, 25/07/2023 - 01:18


Many supply chains in Mexico have been taken a dicrease in their revenues since the pandemic of COVID 19 in 2020.
The charts showed that in big chains like walmart those years looked down their retail sales.
Despite of, Walmart, Amazon, eg, had seen necessary to change their strategies, so they decided apply online buys for customers over the world. The sales since 2021 has increased up to 12% according the charts.
Overall, revenues still increasing because all those strategies from companies are succesfull and constantly marketing and sales strategies are changing.
It is stimated that in 2030 these companies will have the majority of profits inside global market.

Submitted by Rita25 on Wed, 19/10/2022 - 14:04


Given the fact that Pandemic isn't over yet, it has a negative impact all over the world. In my country we saw a rise in prices of food and oil due to disruption in supply and strong dollar which is a dominant reserve currency. Import goods are usually sold and bought in dollar, strong dollar exported inflation in my country as the Peso gets weaker. There was a decline in demand for trendy clothing. I noticed people do away with shopping and spend their money for necessities. The economy has been crippled and struggling to meet its annual growth target. Businesses are shut down. The trickle effects of these inevitable societal and economic uncertainty are felt by ordinary citizen in my country affecting their livelihood and struggling to make ends meet. Essential shopping is now a most prevalent trend.

Submitted by farhadwahaj on Sun, 09/10/2022 - 10:09


In my country, Overall, the trend declined, and all business revenues drop up, the demand is decreasing for all wanted, and luxury staff. People only buy the thing which is essential for daily life and to survive. The human traffic business grows up, and people spend numerous amounts to be fled from the country due to life threatening. This is the economic story of my country.

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.