Americans Spend $422 on Summer Soirees, Ask Guests to Help

June 30, 2011

amex-food1.JPGNearly two-thirds (64%) of US adults plan to host a summer get-together this year, and the average party-thrower will spend $422 per party, with affluent hosts spending $625, according to the June 2011 American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. In addition, 72% of hosts will ask their guests to contribute party items, with more than half of these (55%) requesting side dishes.

Dessert, Drinks Popular Guest Contributions

Other popular items requested of summer soiree guests include dessert (43%) and drinks (42%). Only 14% of hosts expect guests to contribute a main dish. In the Northeast and North Central regions, a side dish and dessert are the top requests, while hosts in the South and West are asking for drinks in addition to side dishes.

Almost All Hosts Buy Food

Food (96%) and drinks (87%) top the shopping list for this summer’s parties, with an average cost of $173 and $97 respectively. Americans will also devote a portion of their summer entertaining spend to the following:

  • Decorations – $61 (43%)
  • Toys/games for kids – $71 (29%)
  • Entertainment – $139 (26%)
  • Invitations – $33 (22%)
  • Sports equipment – $82 (19%)
  • Party planner – $143 (7%)

Summer Camp Spend Remains Flat

In addition to splurging on summer parties, parents of children younger than 18 are also spending an average of $573 on camp this summer. Spending on summer camp remained relatively consistent compared to last year, with 85% of consumers saying they’ll spend more (42%) or the same (43%) as they did last summer.

Sixty-two percent are sending their kids to sports, academic, day and overnight camps. On average, these parents say their children will spend five weeks (26 days) away. The most popular month for camp? Nearly nine in ten parents (87%) will send their children to camp in July.

NRF: July 4th Spending Skyrockets

The average US adult having a July Fourth cookout will spend $61.16 this year, up 12% from $54.62 in 2010, according to data from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and BIGResearch. Results from the June 2011 “Consumer Intentions and Actions” survey shows the single item with the biggest expected spending increase is charcoal, up about 140% from $3.09 to $7.41.

Conversely, average per person spending on both hamburger and hot dog buns will decline 44%, from $1.96 to $1.09.

About the Data: American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed online among a random sample of 2,004 consumers aged 18 and up. Interviewing was conducted by Echo Research between June 16-21, 2011. Affluent consumers are defined as having a minimum annual household income of $100,000.


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