6 in 10 Americans Likely to Reduce Restaurant, Entertainment Spend

June 6, 2011

harris-spending-trend-june-2011.JPGSix in 10 US adults are likely to reduce spending on eating out (61%) and entertainment (59%) in the next six months, according to results of a May 2011 Harris Poll. These figures are relatively flat compared to recent history, but down significantly from March 2009, during the worst period of the recession.

Likelihood to Reduce Eating Out Falls 17%

Specifically, 74% of poll respondents said they are somewhat or very likely to cut back on spending in both these areas in March 2009, meaning that since then the percentage likely to reduce spending on eating out has dropped 17.5% and the percentage likely to reduce spending on entertainment has fallen 20%.

Vacation, General Spending Up from March, Down from January

Consumer likelihood to spend on vacations and generally have more money available for spending has risen compared to March 2009 but slightly fallen since January 2011. In May, 34% of US adults said they were likely to take a vacation away from home lasting longer than a week, which is up 17% from March but down 5.5% from 36% in January.

Similarly, 28% of consumers said they are likely to have more money to spend the way they want, up 33% from 21% in March but down almost 7% from 30% in January.

Saving Plans Change Little

While there have been some significant fluctuations in likelihood to spend on certain items and activities during the past two years, the percentage of Americans likely to save or invest more money has remained virtually flat. This figure was 50% in March 2009, 49% in January and 51% in May.

Other Findings

  • Fully one quarter of US adults say they are likely to purchase a new computer in the next six months (25%), the highest percentage that has said so in the nine times this question has been asked since November 2008;
  • There is almost no recent change in those who say that they will purchase a house or condo (9% compared to 10% in January) or move to a different residence in the next six months (19% compared to 21%);
  • Similar numbers say they will buy or lease a newly manufactured car, truck or van (14% now and in January) or buy a boat or recreational vehicle (6% now compared to 7% in January); and,
  • One in 10 Americans say they will start a new business in the next six months (10%) – a number which has held steady since September 2010.

Gallup: Spending Down YOY in May ’11

Overall self-reported daily consumer spending in US stores, restaurants, gas stations, and online averaged $69 per day during May 2011, according to Gallup poll data. This figure is up 6% from $65 in April, but down 4% from the $72 average of May 2010.

Consumer spending during the first five months of 2011 has followed a pattern similar to that of 2010. Spending in both years has been far below that of 2008. Average daily consumer spending in May 2008 was $114, meaning the average has declined 39% in three years.

About the Data: This Harris Poll was conducted online within the US between May 9 to 16, 2011 among 2,184 adults (aged 18 and older). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.


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