Washington, DC —Last year, two-thirds (66%) of Americans took at least one trip shorter than 5 nights, driven by younger generations (72% of Millennials and 69% of Gen X’ers, vs. 60% Baby Boomers), according to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Allianz Global Assistance. For some, these short breaks are the longest vacations they take: about three in ten Americans (29%) indicated their longest trip last year was lasted less than 5 nights. Once again, this is more likely among younger Americans: 33% of Millennials and 31% of Gen X’ers say their longest trip last year was under 5 days, compared to just 23% of Boomers.
In keeping with younger Americans’ preference for shorter trips, last year, fewer than 2 in 10 (17%) Millennials took a trip longer than seven days last year, making them directionally less likely than Gen X’ers (21%) or Baby Boomers (22%) to have done so.
Even the purpose of such mini-vacations varies across generations. When those who took trips shorter than 5 nights last year were asked the purpose of these trips, nearly one in three (32%) said it was easier to take a shorter amount of time off work, particularly for Millennials (37%) and Gen X’ers (40%). Another one in three (32%) indicated it was because they only needed a few days to attend a special event or visit friends. Millennials (34%) and Baby Boomers (38%) were more likely to take this kind of trip, compared with 23% of Gen X’ers. One in four (26%) Americans who took a short vacation did so to be able to take more frequent albeit shorter trips. This is line with the finding that a quarter (25%) of Americans and nearly a third (29%) of Millennials, specifically, took at least three mini-vacations last year.
For nearly 2 in 10 (19%) who took a mini-vacation, the financial burden of longer trips was a motivator to keep it short. This was least likely to be a concern for the Baby Boomers (11%), and most concerning for Millennials (25%) and Gen X’ers (21%). Those with a household income of at least $50k (51%) are also much more likely than those earning less than $50k (29%) to have taken a longer trip lasting at least 5 nights, underscoring that finances are also driving vacation preferences.
For others, it’s simply easier to bring a friend along on a shorter trip than a longer one. One in 10 (10%) of those who took shorter vacations last year say it was due to the ease of finding a travel companion for a shorter trip, which is most likely to be a reason for Millennials (18%, vs. 7% of Gen X’ers and just 3% of Baby Boomers).
Older generations are by far the most likely to take longer trips: while a majority of Baby Boomers took at least one mini-vacation last year, 4 in 10 (40%) did not take any trips that were shorter than 5 nights, compared to 31% of Gen X’ers and 28% of Millennials. It isn’t fair to say that older Americans are enjoying a disproportionate amount of vacation time, however. While over a quarter (28%) of Americans did not take any leisure trips last year, Baby Boomers are the generation most likely to have not taken one at all: 35% of Boomers didn’t take a vacation last year, compared to 26% of Millennials and 24% of Gen X’ers).
About the Study
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between May 1 and May 2, on behalf of Allianz Global Assistance. For this survey, a sample of 1,005 American adults was interviewed online via the Ipsos I-Say panel. Generational categories are being loosely defined as follows: Millennials aged 18-34, Gen X aged 35-54, and Baby Boomers aged 55+). Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Americans adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
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Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry. With offices in 89 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management. Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe. Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,749.5 million in 2018.
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