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Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Young professionals trimming turkey-time travel, spending

October 14, 2009

turkey1Check out a survey showing that younger U.S. consumers are trimming travel plans as well as turkeys during Thanksgiving.
More young professionals (37 percent) are adjusting their Thanksgiving travel and spending plans than the affluent and general population (both 30 percent), according to a survey by American Express. Young professionals are defined as less than 30 years old, having a college degree and a minimum annual household income of $50,000.
The young guns also are pulling back in other areas:
* 11 percent of young professionals plan to drive instead of flying, compared to 7 percent of the general population and 6 percent of the affluent, who are defined as having a minimum annual household income of $100,000. 
* 8 percent of young pros plan to shorten their stay for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, compared to the affluent and general population (both 3 percent). 
* 7 percent of young pros will use rewards points, miles and special offers to offset the cost, versus 4 percent of the affluent and 3 percent of the general population.
Overall, American Express found 30 percent of U.S. consumers plan to adjust this year’s travel plans for Thanksgiving — historically one of the busiest travel days of the year — but only 21 percent expect those expenses to decline from last year.
Those who are changing their plans said they will rely more on travel by car, stay for a shorter time and cash in rewards to help pay for holiday trips as they become more selective amid the high unemployment and soft housing market.

However, in a positive sign, sales at U.S. retailers excluding vehicle sales rose for the second straight month in September, raising cautious optimism consumer spending could support the economic recovery.
The American Express survey also showed that the young professionals are cutting back for Halloween, when consumers spent $5.8 billion last year according to the National Retail Federation.
* 36 percent of young pros are buying less expensive costumes and decorations.  The rate is 16 percent among the affluent group and 15 percent among the general population. 

* 26 percent of young pros are making their own costumes or using hand-me-downs.  Again, that is higher than the 13 percent of affluent respondents and 11 percent of the general population. 
Looking ahead to the winter holiday season, sale prices are still king when it comes to early shoppers.  Eighty-two percent overall said they would be enticed by some sort of discount, with almost all of the young professionals (96 percent) and affluent (94 percent) agreeing.
It appears easier to entice the young set.  They would be willing to spend with discounts as low as 10 percent, according to American Express.  The affluent said it would take a discount of nearly 30 percent, on average, for them to buy. 
Also in the basket:

Pepsi, Anheuser to jointly buy goods, services

Kraft opens $50 mln Russian biscuit factory

Host Hotels beats estimates on cost cuts

Diageo’s Q1 sales dip 6 pct, sending shares lower 

Handbags and snoods help Burberry top forecasts

(Reuters photo)


I’m 23 and have started a job in my career path, but I’m in a city a long way from my parents. I won’t have the money to travel back for Christmas so I guess I’ll qualify in your statistics for doing a driving vacation. Some friends and I are renting a timeshare (we used just an hour from here. This way we get to have our Christmas holidays by staying at a resort, but we’ll still be able to get to work on the days we have to. Not the same as “home for the holidays” but it gives us a cheap and fun way to celebrate.

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