July 27, 2021 – According to the Amex Trendex1, a trend report from American Express, US consumers are spending their time and money gearing up for a return to in-person activities this fall. Parents are preparing for their kids to go back to school, and many working adults are getting ready to head back to the office. In the meantime, consumers are filling up their busy summer schedules with last-minute trips.
Seeking A Fresh Start: Parents Are Preparing for Back-to-School Season
The majority of parents surveyed (80%) feel either hopeful, happy, or excited about their kids returning to the classroom, and 60% are experiencing less of the “Sunday Scaries,” the anxiety felt before an impending workweek, knowing that their children will return to the classroom this year. This increased optimism brings an uptick in activities, particularly back-to-school shopping and fall hobbies. Nearly half (44%) of parents surveyed say this back-to-school season will be the first time they have shopped for clothes in more than a year, so it’s no surprise that 46% are happy or excited about shopping for back-to-school clothes. Additionally, 66% plan to sign their child/children up for more extracurricular activities this year.
Return-To-Office: Adjusting to The New 9-5
With many US companies adjusting to a hybrid work model, working adults are thinking about what the ideal work week looks like for them. The majority (81%) of working adults surveyed are confident they will be just as productive working in the office as working remotely, with Tuesday and Wednesday selected as the most popular days of the week to go into the office. Health and wellness, which working adults more easily integrated into their work-from-home days, continue to be a priority with 87% indicating they want to make healthier choices such as exercising (52%), cooking healthier (47%) and taking breaks and walks throughout the day (42%) when they return to the office. Working adults have their own version of “back-to-school shopping,” as many are ready to ditch the sweats for work-appropriate pants. Sixty percent say they are excited to dress up again, and 38% agree they need to reset their own style for returning to the office.
Making Up for Lost Time with End-of-Summer Travels
The desire to travel remains strong despite many consumers (40%) already having traveled or having spent more on travel than usual (35%) this summer. In fact, 60% of US consumers surveyed plan to take at least one more vacation in August. Travel companions differ by generation – Millennials (57%) and Gen Xers (52%) plan to travel with family, Boomers plan to travel with significant others (52%) and Gen Zers plan to travel with friends (28%). Looking ahead to the fall, 63% of consumers want to be more intentional with their paid time off and plan to schedule time off for a vacation rather than taking their days off without a plan.
What is the Amex Trendex?
The Amex Trendex is a trend index that tracks how consumers, small businesses, and merchants are feeling about spending, saving, traveling and more. Data will be sourced on a monthly basis in the U.S. and bimonthly globally, including in the U.K., Australia, Japan, Mexico, India and Canada.
1 This Amex Trendex online poll was conducted by Morning Consult between June 25-28, among a national sample of 2,000 general population travelers with a household income of at least $70K, and defined as adults who traveled by air at least once in 2019. “Parent” demographic defined as being the parent or guardian of any children. “Working adult” demographic defined as being presently employed in the private sector, government, or self-employed. Results from the survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.