Stats: Affluent Americans Drive Over Half of Travel Spending

A stethoscope and paper money.
Photo by Getty/utah778

For travel brands, targeting affluent Americans is a strategic decision with the potential to have a huge payoff, according to a new study by Skift. Skift Research’s analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016 Consumer Expenditure Survey shows that, while Americans with an income of over $100,000 make up just 20 percent of the total U.S. population, they account for more than half of all total travel-related spending.  

Skift’s new report, “U.S. Affluent Traveler Trends 2018: Annual Survey on Travel Behavior” looks at the complexity of affluent American travelers and reveals key insights into their travel behaviors, attitudes and preferences: how they prioritize experiences, primary resources and preferences in travel planning and destination selection, common booking channels, key differences by age, travel frequency, and household size, and more. Survey highlights include:

  • Affluent travelers are self-sufficient planners and bookers
  • They prioritize experiences that can teach them new things
  • They are increasingly embracing alternative accommodation options such as Airbnb and HomeAway (in particular families traveling with children): 50 percent have stayed at a short-term vacation rental at least once, compared to 36 percent the previous year
  • They would rather spend money on travel than on other things or possessions at home (81%), but they don’t think that spending more makes a trip more meaningful
  • Super Affluents” don’t want to waste time looking around for the best travel deals and are more likely to book directly from airline (69%) and hotel websites (66%)

Source: Skift

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