Study: Experiences Win Over Possessions

BELLEVUE, WA—Expedia.com has released the results of a multi-generational travel study, exploring consumer behavior and travel preferences of American adults from Generation Z to baby boomers. Results illustrate that people are shifting away from a society of stuff (products like clothes, electronics, jewelry), to a society of experiences, and are specifically saving for travel.

Experiences over possessions
Social media is influencing consumer purchasing decisions, with 36% of Gen Z saying they’ve chosen a travel destination because they saw it on social media. However, priorities are shifting from posting a new handbag to live streaming a ziplining experience.

  • Seventy-four percent of all U.S. respondents said they would prioritize spending spare change on experiences rather than products, especially millennials, with 65% disclosing that they are currently saving money to spend specifically on travel.
  • Nearly 20% of Gen Z respondents said they have stayed at a specific hotel or destination in order to score a positive response from followers on posts on their own social media channels.
  • Nearly half of millennials said they would sell their clothes or furniture to travel more.

Travelers prefer to book through online travel agencies
With technology impacting the everyday lives of American consumers, the way Americans prefer to book travel is shifting toward convenience versus brand loyalty.

  • Compellingly (80%), each generation studied declared that they preferred booking all travel and hotel accommodations on one site, versus booking each travel item separately.
  • Eighty-seven percent of Gen Z respondents said they find booking all travel components in one place helpful and most (55%) would consider booking entirely through an OTA, with no comparison shopping when asked, “Would you book an entire trip through an online travel agency without visiting any other sites?”

Younger generations are postponing breakups for the beach
The youngest generations surveyed, Gen Z and millennials focus their purchasing decisions on travel, with 65% currently saving for a trip this year. Younger generations tend to prioritize impressing their peers, along with seeking out adventure and disconnecting for relaxation.

  • Travel-obsessed millennials are also strongly independent, with one in every four millennials having traveled alone on a leisure trip in the past year.
  • Seventy-one percent of Gen Z respondents said they would get a part-time job to save up for a leisure trip.
  • Eleven percent have actually postponed a breakup due to a previously planned trip with their partner.

“Insights into younger generations’ preferences are as good as a crystal ball, and currently their trends are pointing toward a great future for the travel space,” said Sarah Gavin, VP of Expedia Inc. global communications.

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