Personal Spending Drives Consumer Buying Trends

January 11, 2011

americanexpress-spending-tracker-planned-personal-health-spending-jan11.gifMore than half of adults are planning to spend more (14%) or the same (40%) in 2011 than they did last year, with the majority of that spending focused on themselves, according to results from the January 2011 American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. In terms of where consumers will spend in 2011, top categories include grooming (73%), health/fitness (70%) and clothing for themselves (61%). Categories at the bottom of the list include video game systems and games (34%), jewelry (34%), portable media players (32%), and tablet computers or e-book readers (30%).

Health & Fitness Spending Looks Strong

Similar to 2010, consumers cited “exercising more” and “losing weight” as their top three and four New Year resolutions, respectively, behind saving money and spending more time with friends and family.

To reach their fitness goal, 47% of consumers plan to spend more on health and fitness in 2011, primarily on:

  • Gym Memberships: average of $131 per month.
  • Fitness equipment: average of $127 per month.
  • Personal trainer: average of $127 per month.
  • Eating Programs: average of $75 per month.
  • Fitness-related video games: average of $60 per month.

Significantly Reducing Debt Remains Top Financial Goal

amex-spending-tracker-top-financial-goals-jan-2011.gifWhile saving money was the top New Year resolution for 2011, fewer are setting financial goals this year (83% in 2011, down from 89% in 2010). Personal savings rates are still well above pre-recession levels and consumers will remain focused on saving, but they will set aside less than they did in 2010. After setting aggressive savings goals for 2010, $14,000 on average, consumers are paring back their savings target this year to a more modest $2,600.

For those who set financial goals, significantly reducing or paying off debt before the end of the year tops the list (17%). Other financial goals include:

  • Save a percentage of household income each month (15%).
  • Only buy what they can afford (14%).
  • Find a better or higher paying job (10%).
  • Save enough money to travel (6%).

Economic Confidence Deteriorates in Dec.

Economic confidence is deteriorating sharply among Americans, according to recent Gallup Poll data. Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index averaged -31 over the first two weeks of December 2010, fully offsetting November’s improvement to -24, and essentially matching the monthly readings of -29 in October and -33 in September. In addition, consumers were virtually no more optimistic about the US economy in early December 2010 than they were at that time a year ago (-27).

About the Data: American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed online among a random sample of 2,025 consumers aged 18 and older. Interviewing was conducted by Echo Research between December 10 and December 15, 2010.


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