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08/30/2021

Survey: Customers are ready to spend as work, school await

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
Dan Berthiaume profile picture
Consumers are ready to shop in store this fall.
Shoppers are anxious to get back to the brick-and-mortar store.

Apparel retailers in particular may have something to look forward to this fall as consumers purchase attire for returning to the office and the classroom.

According to the new Amex Trendex Pent Up Purchase Survey, consumers are focused on updating their wardrobe. Roughly three in four surveyed adults are spending more or about the same on clothing/footwear and beauty products (77% and 71% respectively).

Of the generations most likely planning a return to the office or school, at least 70% agree their work attire moving forward will focus on a combination of comfortable and professional. Four in 10 respondents say they are excited to purchase more professional/fashionable apparel after staying home during COVID-19.

In addition, 36% of respondents say they are more excited about spending on new clothes for back to work/school than before the pandemic, while 35% say they are excited to return to school/work because it will give them a reason to wear more fashionable clothing. Eighty percent say they are looking to buy casual clothes this fall, like jeans and a t-shirt aesthetic, up from 78% in June 2021

More than six in 10 (62%) combined respondents say they are seeing friends/family and shopping in-person more frequently than they were earlier this summer (34% and 28%, respectively). Close to four in 10 (37%) respondents say they are dining indoors and dining outdoors more frequently than they were earlier this summer. With this in mind, 27% of respondents say they are wearing their mask indoors more frequently than they were earlier in the summer

Results from another recent survey aligns with Amex Trendex’s findings that many consumers plan to return to work, although a New York-focused study indicates fewer workers may be back to the office soon in the Big Apple.

An Eden Workplace Software-sponsored survey of 1,000 full- and part-time office workers finds that 85% of employees want to be in the office in some capacity, precisely in line with a similar survey sponsored by Eden in February that also showed 85% of workers wanting to remain connected to offices in some manner.

However, a recent poll of New York City employers by the Partnership for New York City indicates that respondents only expect 41% of employees will be back at their desks by the end of September 2021. When surveyed in May 2021 by the same agency, surveyed New York City employers said that they expected 62% of workers to be back by that time.

The arrival of the Delta variant is the reason for the change. Forty-four percent of those surveyed said that they had delayed return-to-office programs after the onset of the variant. Most of them (42%) said their delays would last one month or less, 18% expected the stall to last two or three months, and 10% figured they’ll be waiting three months or more.

A Morning Consult poll was conducted for Amex Trendex between August 9 -10, 2021, among a sample of 2,000 general population consumers with a household income of greater than $50,000.