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Traveling Dollars

Apr 24, 2017
Marshal Cohen, Chief Industry Advisor ;

Nearly half of consumers recently told NPD they plan to spend less in the next 12 months. Of course, consumers will rarely say they want to or plan to spend more. Then again, if it is something they really want, or are looking forward to, that mindset changes. Consumers have more spending opportunities, more budgetary demands, and, as a result, a more thoughtful approach to purchasing tangible items than ever before. We need to capitalize on the areas where consumers are ready to spend.

Only 9 percent of consumers plan to spend more in the next 12 months. But, when it comes to travel, 25 percent plan to spend more, a number that is even higher among those between 18 and 34 years of age. And, over 80 percent of consumers plan to travel more than 50 miles from home in the next 12 months. Travel gives consumers the chance to experience new things, or escape from their reality for a little while. It is this aspiration that can and should be used to the advantage of marketing a range of products.

Case in point, luggage sales have been on the rise over the past year (up 20 percent in units and 6 percent in dollars*). But selling product that complements the experience and appeals to the needs associated with it is just one option. Manufacturers and retailers can also connect consumer interest in travel to the shopping experience, even taking consumers on a virtual trip that allows them to detach from their day-to-day stresses for a little while but connect with your product. This could result in an increase in planned travel spending, or even rerouting some of it to product purchases.

Just think about the opportunity for your business to tie into travel.  Luggage has done this with obvious connections, but what about wardrobes, accessories, food, toys, and more?  Almost every industry can tag on to this new desire to travel more, create new shopping opportunities centered around travel, make products that are more travel-friendly, or establish new travel necessities.  Watch out, the fanny pack may make a comeback as the next travel must have accessory.  (Spoiler alert…it already is in the midst of a comeback!)

Today’s retail marketers are competing for the consumer’s spending consideration instead of just competing for a purchase decision – competing with everything from healthcare expenses and streaming services to experiences like dining and travel. Is this a challenge for marketers? Sure. But piggybacking on some of this competition uncovers opportunity to take a different selling journey.


Source: The NPD Group / Omnibus February 2017
*Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Consumer Tracking Service, 12 months ending February 2017

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