"In 2014, it appears that America has finally stopped holding its collective breath, waiting for the other economic shoe to drop," says Fiona O'Donnell, category manager, multicultural, lifestyles and leisure at Mintel. "After five years of slow but steady growth, Americans have passed the tipping point of prolonged economic worry and have cautiously accepted that things are better. Confidence in personal finances has allowed consumers to think about the future and look forward rather than linger over the past."
In their report, American Lifestyles 2014, Mintel predicts that total U.S. consumer expenditures will grow by 20 percent from 2013-2018 to reach $12,025 billion, with categories such as leisure and entertainment, vacations and tourism, technology and communications and alcohol on premises to show the greatest increases.
"Adults aged 18-24...are looking at the world around them and see all the possibilities ahead. Owing in part to social media and the ability to share instantaneously with others, young adults are placing a higher value on 'experiences' as opposed to some of the more traditional purchases of their parents' generation. A desire for experiences over stuff - couples with a record number of Baby Boomers reaching retirement (meaning that this relatively wealthy demographic has more free time on their hands) - has seen expenditures on categories such as dining out, vacations, leisure & entertainment and alcohol outpace spending overall. This is a trend that is expected to continue over the next five years."
"Consumer spending on vacations and tourism will outpace total expenditure growth over the next five years, due mainly to increased costs associated with international travel as well as a stable and growing domestic market. Baby Boomers are a driving force behind vacation spending, though families headed by young Millennials will also contribute to the market," says Fiona.