According to the Amex Trendex1, a trend report from American Express (NYSE:AXP), 61% of US consumers surveyed agree holiday plans will look different in 2021 and beyond. As new holiday spending, entertainment, and travel trends emerge, holiday essentials put on hold by the pandemic will also return: 71% of consumers surveyed indicate that they will celebrate the holidays with more family members and loved ones in-person than last year and 38% of consumers surveyed agree they will spend more on the holidays this year in anticipation of a more celebratory season.
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Holiday Spend Trends (Graphic: Business Wire)
Consumers Plan to Shop Early and Consciously
Nearly half (48%) of consumers surveyed have already started their shopping and 45% started their holiday shopping earlier this year knowing that retailers may face supply chain issues and shortages. When shopping for holiday gifts, respondents indicate that it’s important to them to purchase gifts that support small or local businesses (81%), are sustainable or minimize their environmental impact (64%), or are ethically sourced (63%).
75% of consumers surveyed agree that shopping in-person at a small business brings them joy and drives excitement for the holidays
67% of consumers surveyed agree they are looking for offers or deals through their credit card when shopping for the holidays and 57% agree they plan to use their credit card points for holiday shopping
67% of respondents agree they plan on focusing on their finances more in 2022 than in previous years
Reconnecting with Loved Ones and Beloved Traditions
The Amex Trendex found that consumers surveyed are most looking forward to spending time with family and friends (76%) this holiday season followed by giving and receiving gifts (53%). But there is a preference for in-person celebrations: 44% of respondents plan to visit family/friends in person while only 17% of consumers surveyed plan to have a ‘hybrid holiday’ that combines live and virtual gatherings.
Over half of consumers surveyed say they plan to prioritize their mental health this holiday season by enjoying personal time (65%), reconnecting with friends/family (56%), or by staying active (55%)
54% of employed respondents plan on getting together in-person with colleagues to celebrate the holidays
48% of consumers surveyed plan to put holiday decorations up earlier this year to feel more cheerful and 51% of consumers surveyed indicate that they will put up more holiday decorations this year to make their space feel more festive since they are spending more time at home
Respondents agree it’s important to have holiday decorations that support small businesses (72%), are sustainable (61%), or are ethically sourced (56%)
Remote Work Gives Consumers Added Flexibility for Holiday Travel
Nearly half (47%) of consumers surveyed plan to travel for at least one holiday this season. Remote work is enabling travel, too, as 6 in 10 employed consumers surveyed (61%) agree it gives them the flexibility to avoid busy travel days this year and 57% of employed respondents indicate it gives them the flexibility to extend their travel plans. The "book now, figure it out later” trend that first emerged this year2 continues as 63% of consumers surveyed agree that they are willing to book a trip even if they might have to cancel it.
Nearly half of consumers surveyed (49%) plan to travel on or before the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving (November 23, 2021) compared to just 29% who plan to travel on Thanksgiving Day (November 25, 2021)
77% of consumers surveyed would prefer to take a vacation with their significant other rather than exchange gifts
52% of consumers surveyed plan to use credit card points for holiday travel
79% of consumers surveyed like to shop at small businesses when traveling to support the local community and 63% like to buy holiday gifts from the destination they are visiting
58% of respondents have saved more money for travel in 2022 due to the pandemic and 55% of respondents plan to take one to three trips in 2022
52% of consumers surveyed agree that one of their New Year's Resolutions will be to take more vacation time in 2022 than they did in 2021
What is the Amex Trendex?
The Amex Trendex is a trend index that tracks how consumers, small businesses, and merchants are feeling about spending, saving, traveling and more. Data is sourced on a monthly basis in the United States and biannually globally, including in the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Mexico, India, and Canada.
1 This Morning Consult poll was conducted between October 5-8th, 2021 among a national sample of 2,000 general population travelers with a household income of at least $70K and defined as adults who traveled by air at least once in 2019. Results from the survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
The Global Travel Trends Report from American Express Travel found that 56% of global travelers surveyed said that they miss traveling so much that they are willing to book a trip now even if they might have to cancel it in the future.
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