Travel Spending & Saving Survey
(American Express - Sept 14, 2009) - A new survey from American Express reports that 30 percent of U.S. consumers plan to adjust this year’s travel plans for Thanksgiving -- historically one of the busiest travel days of the year -- but only 21 percent expect those expenses to decrease compared to last year.
The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker is the second in a monthly series of reports about consumers’ views on the economy and what is motivating them to spend and save. The research sample of 2,009 adults included the general U.S. population, as well as two sub-groups -- the affluent and young professionals. Respondents whose plans are changing said they’ll rely more on automobile travel, stay for a shorter time and cash-in rewards to help pay for holiday trips. The most significant changes are from the young professionals -- 37 percent said they’ve adjusted their plans versus the affluent and general population (both 30 percent).
Nineteen percent of the general population who traveled last year will be staying home in 2009. More than one in 10 (11 percent) young professionals indicated they intend to drive as opposed to fly, compared to 7 percent of the general population and 6 percent of the affluent. Eight percent of young professionals intend to stay fewer days for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, compared to the affluent and general population (both 3 percent). Seven percent of the young professionals are using rewards points, miles and special offers to offset the cost, versus 4 percent of the affluent and 3 percent of the general population.
The Spending & Saving Tracker by American Express indicates that consumers have not measurably changed their overall outlook on spending compared to last month, but they are starting to open their wallets for the holiday season. Against the backdrop of high unemployment and a soft housing market, however, they expect to be more selective. As one might expect, consumers said they plan to spend significantly more over the next 30 days on travel, compared to last month (41 percent versus 33 percent). Nearly eight in 10 of the affluent expect to spend more, or about the same, over the next 30 days on dining out (78 percent). Compared to last month, consumers expect to decrease spending in groceries (49 percent versus 40 percent), grooming (23 percent versus 16 percent) and tuition (19 percent versus 5 percent).
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