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Summer spending: Survey shows new zeal among shoppers

The summer of 2021 arrives with big expectations for an economic rebound. Consumers are eager to take trips and spend more than usual, according to our research. Could this bring a summer bonus for your business?

Summer forecast: Lots of spending

Our recent consumer survey found that people are ready to spend—especially after so many of them saved or paid off debt during the pandemic. Their plans will be good news for many businesses: 

  • 48% say they have saved enough during the pandemic to spend guilt-free this summer

  • 46% plan to spend more money this summer than the last two summers combined

“Americans have significant spending power coming out of the pandemic,” Affirm CEO Max Levchin recently told analysts. Research shows people paid down billions of dollars in credit card debt and amassed $1.7 trillion in savings through the pandemic. 

Vacations are the summer splurge

The travel resurgence has begun: TSA airport screenings were up 715% in the first 16 days of May compared to the same time last year. And summer trips are a priority for many survey respondents:

  • Travel was what people saved most for (37%) in preparation for summer

  • It was also the top category (41%) for intended summer spending—over home upgrades, clothing, events, and restaurants

  • The average planned spend for summer vacations is $1700

"After a year of storing away vacation days, this summer is quickly shaping up to be the season of PTO for many employees,” said Melanie Fish, Vrbo’s travel expert.

Our survey—conducted in May 2021 with 2,000 U.S. adults—also revealed what many travelers hope to leave behind: credit card debt, virtual happy hours, sweatpants, and sourdough starters!

Payment flexibility isn’t going out of season 

While people are eager to spend, nearly 3 out of 4 are unwilling to abandon activities like online shopping that became prevalent during the last year. This means investing in improvements to  online infrastructure, delivery systems, and curbside pickup for your business is still a good idea.

Another shopping option that grew in popularity during the pandemic was buy now, pay later (BNPL) with providers like Affirm. According to our survey, 72% of respondents are interested in using BNPL for their summer spending. The top 3 categories they identified for this kind of spending are:

  • Clothes (55% said they want to revamp their wardrobe this summer)

  • Home upgrades

  • Travel or vacations

Merchants that partner with Affirm to offer BNPL options are already seeing improved sales results. Cole Haan saw a 23% lift in conversion, along with a 180% boost in daily Affirm sales volume. 

Priceline also reported new customer growth from partnering with Affirm. “Using our A/B testing platform we’ve proven that we're getting incremental new customers who wouldn't have booked with us if we didn't offer Affirm. So that's the biggest benefit—growth in the business,” said Jacobus Kok, Product Director at Priceline. 

Offering customers a pay-over-time option with Affirm comes with a unique benefit that shoppers love: no late or hidden fees. Customers always know up front how much they will pay, and the amount will never change. That can boost shoppers’ confidence as they gear up for summer spending in your store.

Learn more about how Affirm can help increase sales for your business.