These trends are detailed in the just-released Q2 2016 Ipsos Affluent Barometer, which tracks consumer confidence and attitudinal buzz among Affluents (adults with $100,000+ in annual household income; roughly the top 25% of the U.S.) and Ultra Affluents ($250,000+ HHI; the top 3-4% of Americans).
Among Affluents, 72% are planning to take a vacation this summer – up from 63% in 2015, and 52% in 2014. Their willingness to spend is up as well – 29% plan to spend more on vacations this summer than they did last year, doubling the 14% planning to spend less. The intention to spend more is particularly high among two key segments – Ultra Affluents and Affluent Millennials.
The quintessential summer vacation – the family trip to the beach – is flourishing this summer. Fifty-two percent are planning a beach vacation – the highest level in our five years of tracking – with the list of top three activities rounded out by family vacations (46%) and time with family and friends (43%). Interest in urban travel also on the rise, while interest driving vacations continues trending down. Eight-in-10 are planning on travel within the continental U.S., with 9% expecting to visit Hawaii, and 3% venturing to Alaska. Four-in-ten are planning international summer vacations, with Europe (17%) and the Caribbean (14%) topping the list.
Certainly some of the Affluent enthusiasm for summer travel reflects their growing optimism about the economy. In Q2 2016, 54% of Affluents are optimistic about the economy, up from 47% in Q1, and rivalling recent highs. But even more broadly, the Affluent enthusiasm for summer travel reflects general trends toward investing more time, money and emotion into spare time activities and leisure pursuits. Over the past two years, for example, we have seen significant increases in the three attitudinal measures below:
- “These days, I am making a greater effort to enjoy my spare time” (75% now agree, up from 60% in 2014)
- “I would prefer two extra weeks of vacation over two extra weeks of salary” (55% now agree, up from 41% in 2014)