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% of whom said they've adjusted their plans versus the affluent and general population (both 30%). In addition:
The study 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. They expect, however, to be more selective.
Pamela Codispoti, American Express Senior Vice President and General Manager, Cardmember Services, notes that "... consumers plan to open their wallets... starting with Thanksgiving travel, but... are re-prioritizing those expenses... spending on dining and travel are very important to them during this holiday season."
The survey found that 80% of consumers intend to make end-of-year holiday gift purchases. In an encouraging sign, 22% of consumers intend to do so in October, nearly 30% said they would wait until November and 28% expect to wait until December to shop. Significantly more women plan to make holiday purchases in October than their male counterparts (28% versus 16%). And, when asked if a promotion would entice them to shop early:
Halloween, viewed by many as the unofficial start of the holiday season, has grown in popularity among both adults and children. According to the National Retail Federation, in 2008 U.S. consumers spent $5.8 billion on Halloween activities. The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker found that 33% of consumers are shifting their Halloween plans compared to last year, and some, especially the young professionals are getting creative in order to save money.
The Spending & Saving Tracker Study is about consumers' views on the economy and what is motivating them to spend and save. The research was conducted online September 24 - 29, 2009 among a random sample of 2,009 adults aged 18 and older. Affluent is defined as having a minimum annual household income of $100,000. The Young Professionals are less than 30 years of age, having a college degree, and a minimum annual household income of $50,000.
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