Today’s consumer is shifting away from a society of stuff (products like clothes, electronics and jewelry) to a society of experiences, and is specifically saving for travel, new research from Expedia.com reveals. The firm’s new multi-generational study explores consumer behavior and travel preferences of American adults from Generation Z (age 18-22) to Baby Boomers (age 55-65).

“Insights into younger generations preferences are as good as a crystal ball, and currently their trends are pointing towards a great future for the travel space,” said Sarah Gavin, vice president of Expedia Global Communications, in a news release.

“Knowing what travelers of all ages prioritize is important, but the younger generations’ growing love for travel is what keeps us going as we prioritize customer centricity, offering the best deals and the convenience of booking everything at once, all in one place.,” she added.

How the Experience Economy is poised to skyrocket in 2018

Experiences over possessions

Social media is influencing consumer purchasing decisions, with 36 percent 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.

  • 74 percent of all U.S. respondents said they would prioritize spending spare change on experiences rather than products, especially millennials, with 65 percent disclosing that they are currently saving money to spend specifically on travel.
  • Nearly 20 percent 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.

How the Experience Economy is poised to skyrocket in 2018

Younger generations are postponing breakups for the beach 

The youngest generations surveyed, Gen-Z and Millennials focus their purchasing decisions on travel, with 65 percent 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 extremely independent, with one in every four millennials having traveled alone on a leisure trip in the past year.
  • 71 percent of Gen Z respondents said they would get a part-time job just to save up for a leisure trip.
  • 11 percent have actually postponed a breakup due to a previously planned trip with their partner.

The shift in consumer purchasing intent from products to experiences signals a promising road ahead for the travel industry. Furthermore, younger travelers trust online travel agencies to have a breadth of choice, technological simplicity and savings that help satisfy their increasing appetite for travel. This proves that the American thirst for travel and adventure isn’t subsiding anytime soon, especially if the younger generations have anything to say about it.

Read the complete report here.

This study was conducted on behalf of Expedia by The Center for Generational Kinetics, a boutique research and consultancy firm. Expedia surveyed 1,254 U.S. respondents ages 18-65 from August 8–17, 2017.

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