Home > Consumer Behavior & Trends, Economy, Executive Briefing, Monthly Consumer Survey > Will 2012 Mark the Return of the Great American Vacation?

Will 2012 Mark the Return of the Great American Vacation?

Planning a Summer Vacation (Three Year Trend)With nearly 30 million Americans hitting the road for the Independence Day holiday, we thought it’d be interesting to take a look at what other vacation plans consumers had in store for the summer – if any. For the past three years, we’ve been asking the nearly 9,000 respondents in our Monthly Consumer Survey whether they are taking some time off over the next few months [which I would deem necessary for my sanity] and, if so, how much they plan to spend in comparison to the previous year’s outing. So let’s pile into the Family Truckster and see where this data takes us.

This year, nearly a third of consumers (31.7%) plans to take a summer vacation. While this number may seem a little low, it’s important to remember that:

a. Confidence in the economy as well as the job market remain shaky [at best]

b. This still represents an improvement over the vacation plans for the past two summers

Summer vacation plans are the strongest among those under 44, presumably because those are the households most likely to be catering to children. [Hello, Walleyworld Disney World!] Nearly two in five (38.5%) of those 25 to 34 are booking summer outings, while a third of those 18 to 24 and 35 to 44 are making plans. Adults 45 to 54 are the least likely to be enjoying a little fun in the sun over the next few months; these consumers, though, might be feeling a little strapped with college tuitions, squirreling away funds for retirement, etc. As age increases beyond 54, it appears that consumers are more likely to be enjoying travel time, perhaps in retirement.

Planning a Summer Vacation in 2012 (by Age Group)

Now will this year’s travelers be going on the cheap or booking five star hotels? They’ll probably fall somewhere in between, though leaning toward the more practical, budget friendly side. Among consumers planning to take a vacation, more than one in five (22.6%) plans to spend “more” than they did last year, while nearly as many (19.2%) will be spending “less.” This small difference might be significant, though: for the first time in recent memory (i.e. since 2010) those planning to spend “more” have outweighed those determined to spend “less.” [Last year was pretty much a tie.] The balance of vacationers (53.3%) is budgeting the “same” as previous years, so don’t expect a shortage of penthouse views.

Do you intend to spend more, the same amount, or less than you did for your summer vacation last year?

Just remember, wherever your travels take you this summer – or at any point in the future – always avoid Cousin Eddie’s and never let the dog near the picnic basket.

And for on where vacationers might be headed this summer, check out our previous post on this topic: State Superlatives: Dreamiest Destination, Finest Fare, Best Bet for a “Rerun” + more

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – JUN 10-12

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

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