Spending is Trending with Holidays on the Horizon

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Spending is Trending with Holidays on the Horizon

2013 spending intentions come to fruition

Americans indulge in big-ticket items, but stay on track to save

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- As retailers speculate about the upcoming holiday spend season, the latest American Express Spending & Saving Trackerreveals that consumer financial confidence is trending up, amidst a year of fluctuating economic indicators. Among employed Americans, 81% feel more or just as stable in their jobs, compared to one year ago, and with this feeling of stability, two thirds (66%) of all consumers surveyed report discretionary spending to be as much as or more than they expected at the start of the year.

View/download the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker

In December 2012, many consumers projected that they would spend more on non-essentials across multiple areas in 2013; when asked again in September 2013, consumers reported that they have met or are close to meeting their anticipated spending for the year:

Spend Category      

% of Americans who intended to spend
more in 2013 (as of December 2012)


% of Americans who say they have
spent more (as of August 2013)

Big Ticket Items (i.e. Car, TV, major

      41%       39%

Home Improvements, remodeling,
landscaping and décor

      31%       32%
Fashion: Clothing, accessories, jewelry       28%       36%
Computers, laptops, tablets, e-readers       27%       28%
Travel and Vacations       26%       20%
Health & Fitness       22%       20%
Dining Out       19%       20%

"Americans are on track with their spending plans for the year and may even feel the financial freedom to spend more this year than they had anticipated," said David Rabkin, SVP U.S. Consumer Lending Products, American Express. "With the holiday shopping season around the corner, this could bode well for retailers."

Big Bucks for the Deluxe

With four months left to spend in 2013, more than half of Americans (51%) say they will make a large purchase before January 1. Among those with large purchases planned, 51% expect to spend $1,000 or more on their most expensive big ticket item, up from 43% in 2011. Most will upgrade their home (41%), purchasing new TVs (25%), home appliances or furniture (20%), while others plan to purchase a car (19%) or travel (13%).

Filling Up the Piggy Bank

Even though Americans are opening their wallets this year, they remember the lessons of the recession and continue to be cautious of their spending. In December, most Americans (57%) cited saving money as a top priority for 2013. Last year, consumers saved an average of $5,906, missing their goal by $1,727. Perhaps to compensate, consumers have raised their savings goal this year to $10,893, and many say they are on target to meet that amount, saving $9,944 this year to date.

To meet their savings goals, Americans cited setting aside part of their primary income as the top way to save (50%), followed by tax returns (26%) and cutting back on small indulgences like lattes and manicures (25%). Others are using automatic deductions from their paychecks, (18%) stashing part of their bonuses (11%), or selling possessions (17%).

Sixty-three percent of Americans seek out discounts and coupons from email promotions (25%), coupon aggregators such as RetailMeNot (12%), deal sites like Groupon (12%) and social media (9%) to add extra savings from everyday shopping.

Falling into Fashion and Fun Trips

Most Americans (73%) have fall shopping plans, with more shopping at department stores than online (51% vs. 38%). Others say they will shop discount stores (37%), retail chain stores (34%) and boutiques (9%). Just 6% plan to take advantage of flash sale sites.

Vacations are also top of mind for many Americans, as 52% have made leisure travel plans for the coming months, and most plan to spend more or the same this year compared to 2012 (66%).

More than half of Americans say they have already traveled for fun this year (56%), with most opting for a getaway with a significant other (59%), followed by vacations with their kids (33%), and friends (19%). Fewer traveled with their parents (10%), siblings (12%), or grandparents (3%). A growing trend, 14% of consumers planned to travel solo for leisure this year; to date, as of August 2013, 12% report that they have traveled on their own in 2013.

About the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker

The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed online among a random sample of 1,515 adults, including the general U.S. population, as well as an Affluent demographic defined by a minimum annual household income of $100,000, and consumers employed full or part-time. Interviewing was conducted by Ebiquity, formerly Echo Research, between September 3 - 8, 2013. The results reported in this release have an overall margin of error of +/- 2.5 at the 95 percent level of confidence.

About American Express

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at americanexpress.com and connect with us on facebook.com/americanexpress, twitter.com/americanexpress and youtube.com/americanexpress

Key links to products and services: charge and credit cards, business credit cards, travel services, gift cards, prepaid cards, merchant services, business travel, and corporate card.

About Ebiquity Plc

Ebiquity provides independent data-driven insights to global media, marketing and communications professionals to continuously improve clients' business performance. This includes specialized services in research supporting creative testing, brand/advertising tracking, corporate reputation, brand image, research for public relations and thought leadership, global media/social media content analysis, and communications research. Ebiquity acquired Echo Research in May, 2011 and Echo officially started conducting business under the Ebiquity name on July 1, 2013. Learn more at Ebiquity.com

American Express
Melanie Backs, 212-640-2164

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  New York


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