According to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, more than half of adults are planning to spend more (14%) or the same (40%) in 2011 than they did last year, with the majority of that spending focused on themselves. Personal savings rates are still well above pre-recession levels and consumers will remain focused on saving, but they will set aside less than they did in 2010. After setting aggressive savings goals for 2010, $14,000 on average, consumers are paring back their savings target this year to a more modest $2,600.
Pamela Codispoti, senior vice present and general manager of Cardmember Services, American Express, says “… it’s encouraging to see that (consumers) feel more optimistic about their finances… they’re setting more realistic savings goals and… gained some financial breathing room to spend a bit more than in 2010.”
In terms of where consumers will spend in 2011, maintaining their appearance is king. Top categories for “more” consumer spending in 2011 include:
- Grooming (73%)
- Health/fitness (70%)
- Clothing for themselves (61%)
Categories at the bottom of the list include:
- Video game systems and games (34%)
- Jewelry (34%)
- Portable media players (32%)
- Tablet computers or e-book readers (30%)
Similar to 2010, consumers cited “exercising more” and “losing weight” as their top three and four New Year resolutions, respectively, behind saving money and spending more time with friends and family. However, 28% of consumers who are starting the year with a savings strategy would sacrifice a portion of their savings to achieve their goal weight.
47% of consumers plan to spend more on health and fitness in 2011, primarily on:
- Gym Memberships: average of $131 per month
- Fitness equipment: average of $127 per month
- Personal trainer: average of $127 per month
- Eating Programs: average of $75 per month
- Fitness-related video games: average of $60 per month
While saving money was the top New Year resolution for 2011, fewer are setting financial goals: 83% in 2011, down from 89% in 2010. For those who set financial goals, significantly reducing or paying off debt before the end of the year tops the list at 17%. Other financial goals include:
- Save a percentage of household income each month (15%)
- Only buy what they can afford (14%)
- Find a better or higher paying job (10%)
- Save enough money to travel (6%)
This research was completed online among a random sample of 2,025 consumers aged 18+. Overall, the results have a margin of error of +/- 2.2percentage points at the 95% level of confidence.
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