I'm coming late to this one, because it was posted last year — but hey, better late than never: Behold this fascinating set of Pricenomics graphics about what types of objects Americans pawn.
One thing that jumps out in the data? Apple products dominate the realm of pawning. Here's the chart:
Basically, Apple products are amazingly good at holding their value. Electronics are the single biggest category of what Americans pawn overall, but even within that valuable vertical, Steve Jobs has created a storehouse of capital value for everyday Americans: "Apple's products retain value far longer than its competitors in both personal computing and smartphones. They're the Honda of electronics– or maybe the Volvo." Jewelry and guns are the only other things in the top 5. "It turns out that weapons serve as a remarkably durable store of value."
Speaking of jewelry and guns, they are, perhaps unsurprisingly, super gendered in their empawnment. Fully 76% of guns are pawned by men, and 69% of jewelry is pawned by women.
Also interesting is the geographic distribution of pawning, as rendered in the state-by-state dataviz of which items are disproportionately likely to be pawned; that's the chart at the top of this entry. As the Pricenomics folks note …
Perhaps most notable in the above analysis is the category of guns. In American pawn shops, there are "gun states" and "everything" else states. In Southern states and ones with larger rural populations, like the Mountain West, people pawn guns at a much higher rate than the national average.
Outside of guns, there is much more diversity in the popularity of pawned items by state. Luxury watches are the most disproportionately popular item to pawn in California, New York, Louisiana, and Delaware. Tools are popular in Oklahoma, while Designer Clothes and Handbags over-index in Texas.
Me, the only times I've set foot in a pawn shop are to buy or sell musical instruments, which makes me one of the 2.9% of Americans to have done so.