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Summer Travel Spending: Younger generations are hitting the road with extra money to spend

It’s summer time! School is out and interestingly, Gen Z and millennials are most likely to travel AND LEAST LIKELY to get the vaccine! So, how are consumers thinking of spending for summer vacation in 2021?

According to Forbes, spending will exceed $150 billion for the first time, totaling $153.7 billion—a 160% increase over 2020. So, who are these consumers and what will they be spending on and where?

Here are 4 consumer insights to watch for when attracting and engaging with potential and existing young vacationers this year.

Over 50% of younger Americans are ready to hit the road

Seven in 10 millennials and Gen Z expect to travel for summer vacation this year, compared to 55% of average consumers. Over 45% of younger consumers will be taking road trips this year and nearly a third will be traveling by plane. And it looks like they won’t be taking their parents along—baby boomers and retirees are most likely to say they are not taking a vacation (29% and 36%, respectively).

Gen Z and millennials are confident about traveling this summer and want to connect with friends and family, driving to the beach, mountains, and lake destinations across the US. Due to being pent-up, keep in mind that younger consumers will be interested in special perks and will use these to make lodging and entertainment decisions.

Millennials are splurging the most

Compared to vacations taken before the COVID-19 pandemic, millennials and Gen Z are most likely to say they expect to spend more this year than in years past. Specifically, four in 10 younger consumers expect to spend more this year than in years past on travel and hospitality. In addition, 26% of millennials are spending more than last year on toys, games, and books likely to keep potential children occupied while traveling. Spending on live events such as concerts and theatre productions was on the decline for all generations by 52% on average from the pre-pandemic time frame.

Group discounts as well as discounts for extended stays might be beneficial for transportation and lodging. Perks such as family amenities like toys, games, and books might be an added value for a more personal touch for those millennial families.

Buy now, pay later was used the most amongst millennials and Gen Z

Although buy now, pay later was not used frequently amongst consumers in general, there was a slight spike (10%) in usage amongst millennials and the Gen Z audience. When paying for vacation spending, debit card and cash were used the most by Gen Z and millennials.

Consumers have become accustomed to flexibility during the pandemic. In addition, consumers are now habitually digital-first while still having cash on hand. Be flexible in how payment options are provided, all in a bid to be as contactless as possible and in control of the experience from end to end.

Millennials with children are cautious, but spending more

As many millennials have children of their own who’ve been out of school and sequestered at home for several months, they might be among the most eager to get everyone out of the house and have a good time. They are however showing more caution with plane travel right now, until all of their children are eligible to be fully vaccinated. Overall, 52% of those with children said that they would travel more frequently than they did last year, and 33% of those with children said that they would increase their overall vacation spending from previous years.

Trending now is a longer stay with a combination of work/travel—a flex-cation. Offer extra amenities to those families that are extending their stay with added values for the kids and personal touches for the adults.

Source: A sample of 582 US consumers participated in the Summer Travel Spending study through an online quantitative survey that took place from 5/27–6/1/2021.




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