Good News for Travel: Experiences to Top Possessions in 2018

(Photo by Elenathewise/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images) Photo by Elenathewise/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

U.S. consumers, especially Millennials and those in “Generation Z,” are looking to spend on travel in the New Year as experiences continue to win out over possessions, according to a new report by Expedia.

The findings are from Expedia’s new multigenerational travel study, which explores the consumer behavior and travel preferences of American adults from Generation Z (age 18-22) to Baby Boomers (age 55-65). Results illustrate that people are shifting away from a society of stuff (products like clothes, electronics, jewelry), to a society of experiences, and are specifically saving for travel.

"Insights into younger generations preferences are as good as a crystal ball, and currently their trends are pointing towards a great future for the travel space," said Sarah Gavin, vice president of Expedia, Inc. Global Communications, in a written release. "Knowing what travelers of all ages prioritize is important, but the younger generations' growing love for travel is what keeps us going as we prioritize customer centricity, offering the best deals and the convenience of booking everything at once, all in one place."


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Experiences Over Possessions

Social media is influencing consumer purchasing decisions, with 36 percent of Gen-Z saying they've chosen a travel destination because they saw it on social media. However, priorities are shifting from posting a new handbag to live streaming a ziplining experience.

  • 74 percent of all US respondents said they would prioritize spending spare change on experiences rather than products, especially Millennials, with 65 percent disclosing that they are currently saving money to spend specifically on travel.
  • Nearly 20 percent of Gen-Z respondents said they have stayed at a specific hotel or destination in order to score a positive response from followers on posts on their own social media channels.
  • Nearly half of Millennials said they would sell their clothes or furniture to travel more.

Younger Generations Are Postponing Breakups for the Beach

The youngest generations surveyed, Gen-Z and Millennials (age 22-35), focus their purchasing decisions on travel, with 65 percent currently saving for a trip this year. Younger generations tend to prioritize impressing their peers, along with seeking out adventure and disconnecting for relaxation.

  • Travel-obsessed Millennials are also extremely independent, with one in every four Millennials having traveled alone on a leisure trip in the past year.
  • 71 percent of Gen-Z respondents said they would get a part-time job just to save up for a leisure trip.
  • 11 percent have actually postponed a breakup due to a previously planned trip with their partner.

The shift in consumer purchasing intent from products to experiences signals a promising road ahead for the travel industry, Expedia said.

This study was conducted on behalf of Expedia by The Center for Generational Kinetics, a boutique research and consultancy firm. Expedia surveyed 1,254 U.S. respondents ages 18-65 from August 8 – 17, 2017.

Source: Expedia

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