Trend Watch: May 10, 2010

Looking Ahead, Agents See Savvy Clients

Travel agents can expect a more savvy and knowledgeable client base to emerge over the next 10 years, according to a recent Amadeus agent survey.  As indicated by the pie charts below, agents expect to see the most change (more than 80 percent combined “reasonable change” and “major change”) in clients’ knowledge about options and cost-consciousness.

The Rich Do Get Richer, and Luxury Experts Cash In

Things are looking way up for the wealthiest consumers in the U.S., according to the 2010 Survey of Affluence and Wealth in America:

*    Luxury consumption is expected to increase by $28 billion.
*    Affluent and wealthy consumers have become happier.
*    The wealthiest consumers have become wealthier.
*    Re-emerging consumers are conducting “Precision-Shopping.”
*    This section that has resurfaced is also increasingly immune to persuasion.
*    Gen-X professionals are now experiencing an “Economic Status Jam.”
*    Social media remains mainly social, but desire for digital information and content is growing, but not at the expense of traditional media.
*    Resourcefulness, self-sufficiency, value and needs-based purchasing dominate.

To what do we owe this rebound in spending?

*    The number of discretionary households has risen for the first time since 2007— 400,000 new households have joined the ranks of affluence and wealth in the past year.
*    The rich get richer. Average incomes have increased 2 percent in the last year, while medium incomes dropped 15 percent. Translation: Those in the top 2 percent are driving the overall increase.
*    Spender’s guilt is dissipating. Fewer people say they feel guilty purchasing luxury goods (down to 45 percent from 54 percent in the last year).

And, speaking of wealth, 74 percent of Vacation.com’s luxury-focused member agents reported that sales are up this year 25 percent on average, with 23 percent reporting significant growth of up to 200 percent over this time last year. Another key finding showed that Europe was in the highest demand (92 percent), followed by Asia (30 percent) and Hawaii (18 percent).

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