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Survey: Younger consumers to lead charge in increased spending this summer

The retail industry is set for an optimistic few months, with U.S. consumers — both those vaccinated and not – set to increase spending this summer across key product categories.

Consumers plan to spend 12% more on sporting goods and 9% more on apparel and footwear, home and garden products this summer than last, according to the latest BOXPoll survey from Pitney Bowes Inc. For the first time in seven months, the percentage of Americans earning less money than before the pandemic fell below 30% (11% make more money; 60% make the same). 

“Spending on vacations, dining out and other services are widely expected to increase following deep declines in 2020,” said Gregg Zegras, executive VP and president, global ecommerce, Pitney Bowes. “But Pitney Bowes BOXpoll respondents also tell us they also plan to spend more on products this summer versus last. This is encouraging and hopeful news for retailers, both because product sales typically experience a decline from spring to summer, and because year-over-year product sales were surprisingly strong last summer too,” 

Leading the spending trend are the younger generations, whose plans for summer spending are significantly greater when compared with Gen Xers and baby-boomers, with Gen Z and millennials spending approximately 15% more on average across all categories.

In particular, Gen Z and Millennials are leading other generations considerably when it comes to sporting goods, with Gen Z spending a third more (33%) on sporting goods than they did last summer and millennials planning for a 19% increase in the category. Older consumers trend toward spending more cautiously, with Gen X planning to spend 8% more than last summer and boomers, 4% more, across all categories.

Other highlights from the survey are below.

• Urban dwellers will spend significantly more (17%) than consumers in suburban and rural areas (5% and 8%, respectively)
•  Parents plan to spend about three times more than those without children year over year (15% vs. 5%);

• Mid-income earners plan a higher increase in spending (12%) compared with lower- and higher-income earners (5% and 11% respectively); and
• Shoppers in the Northeast (13%) and West (10%) planned higher spending increases this summer than those in the Midwest (6%) and South (8%).

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