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MacroMonitor Market Trends August 2012

MacroMonitor Market Trends is a newsletter from Consumer Financial Decisions (CFD) that highlights topical news and trends of interest to you and your colleagues. If you would like more information about the topic in the newsletter or would like to discuss other ways that we can assist you in your research or marketing efforts, please contact us.

Fewer Households Saving (or Borrowing) for Vacations

As we enter the dog days of summer, it's interesting to note that households in the United States receive—and take—fewer paid vacation days than do households in most other industrialized nations. According to a 2009 study by Mercer Consulting, of the top 51 countries whose workers enjoy vacation, including public holidays, the United States ranks thirty-sixth. US workers take fewer vacations days than do workers in other countries except South Korea and Japan, according to a 2011 study by Expedia. Trended MacroMonitor data suggest that this situation is unlikely to change in the near future.

Figure 1: Households Willing to Save or Borrow to Take a Vacation or Travel

Even with a growing population, the number of US households that report they would save (or even borrow) for travel or to take a vacation remained fairly level during the "Uh-Oh'" decade—2000 through 2010. As many households cut back spending in response to the Great Recession—and continue to do so during a lackluster recovery—the number of households that save or borrow to travel or take a vacation has declined significantly. Fewer vacations or more modest vacations may be a consequence of job-loss fears, pressure to save for more important goals, or a dedicated work ethic.

For financial-services providers, households that save for travel and vacations exhibit some attractive and desirable characteristics. For example, although vacationer and traveler households' savings may not be higher than savings of other households, the former households have higher incomes, financial assets, and net worths; they also have higher liabilities. By understanding how vacationer and traveler households differ from other households in their demographics, attitudes, channel preferences, and goals, financial providers can target this more sophisticated clientele with greater success.

MacroMonitor sponsors may access a Segment Summary—Vacation Savers—on the SBI/CFD website. Sponsors may also request a full presentation about any of the featured segments or order a proprietary Segment Summary for a population of interest—for example, Asians, Mutual Fund Investors, Debit-Card Users, and the Emerging Affluent. To learn more, please contact CFD.