The Pulse: A Thanksgiving Preview

The Pulse of the American Consumer is focused on continued insight into consumer sentiments for businesses across all industries.

 

As the holiday season approaches, consumers weighed in on how they will be celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday, with how they plan to gather, travel, and shop. They also gave insight into what they think about the current state of the economy. In order for businesses to have the most success connecting with their consumers, they have to understand them – what they are interested in, what they need, and how they feel. At ENGINE, we have the real-time pulse of the consumer, today, and always. Throughout 2021, we will be offering weekly insights through identifying important data points and trends from the voice of the consumer.

 

KEY FINDINGS AS OF October 24, 2021:

Prefer to view as PDF? Click here. 
Prefer plain text? Click here. 
The Pulse of the American Consumer v39 pt 1
The Pulse of the American Consumer v39 pt 2

If you would like more information on ENGINE CARAVAN surveys, contact us below:

At ENGINE, we will be keeping up with the pulse of the consumer throughout 2021, and are regularly running our CARAVAN surveys on current social issues. Contact us at caravaninfo@enginegroup.com for more information or for the full CARAVAN survey findings.

This Online CARAVAN® omnibus surveys were conducted on January 8-10, January 15-17, January 22-24, January 29-31, February 5-7, February 12-14,  February 19-21, February 26-28, March 5-7, March 12-14, March 19-21, March 26-28, April 2-4, April 9-11, April 16-18, April 23-25, April 30-May 2, May 7-9, May 14-16, May 21-23, June 2-6, June 11-13, June 18-20, June 25-27, July 9-11, July 16-18, July 23-25, July 30-August 1,  August 6-8, August 13-15, August 20-22, August 27-29, September 10-12, September 17-19, September 24-26, October 1-3, October 8-10, October 15-17, and October 22-24, 2021. Approximately 1,000 adults selected from opt-in panels were surveyed. The results are also weighted to U.S. Census data to be demographically representative.

Written by the CARAVAN team at ENGINE Insights.

The Pulse of the American Consumer

Consumer Insights for Business

Thanksgiving, holiday shopping, and the economic outlook are all on the minds of Americans this week.

Gain insight on these issues and more in this week’s The Pulse of the American Consumer.

Thanksgiving Preview

89% of U.S. Adults plan to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. Among those celebrating, 68% plan to do so as they normally would, while 21% expect to make some changes to their usual traditions.

At a similar point in time last year (October 19-21, 2020), just 50% had planned to celebrate as they normally would, while 35% expected to make changes.

  • 81% of those changing traditions indicate that COVID-19 has at least some impact:
    • 32% A lot
    • 49% A little
  • Of those that will celebrate Thanksgiving this year, 42% plan to travel, comprised of:
    • 17% doing just local travel
    • 14% commuting within their home state
    • 9% tracking across state lines
    • 2% leaving the country
  • The most popular planned method of transportation for these travellers, by far, is via car (88%). Other planned transportation methods include:
    • 11% Plane
    • 7% Bus
    • 4% Train

Of course, beyond gathering with family and friends, Thanksgiving would not be complete without shopping! American consumers plan to do just that on these days:

  • 48% Thanksgiving Day
    • 17% In-store only
    • 17% Online only
    • 15% Both in-store and online
  • 61% Black Friday
    • 12% In-store only
    • 26% Online only
    • 22% Both in-store and online
  • 63% Cyber Monday
    • 7% In-store only
    • 42% Online only
    • 14% Both in-store and online

Economic Outlook and Update

39% of U.S. Adults believe the economy will improve over the next 12 months — optimism is driven heavily by young consumers.

  • 49% Gen Z
  • 48% Millennials
  • 57% Democrats

Still, 38% believe the economy will decline within the next year.

  • Republicans (64%) appear to feel particularly pessimistic, as well as Baby Boomers (49%).

Of those that anticipate any change, positive or negative, the biggest drivers include:

  • 31% Actions by the Biden Administration
    • 50% Republicans
    • 19% Democrats
  • 16% What happens with inflation
  • 15% The rate of COVID-19 spreading
    • 10% Republicans
    • 22% Democrats
  • 13% Consumer spending
    • 6% Republicans
    • 17% Democrats
  • 7% The spreads of mis-information on the internet and social media
  • 6% The rate of vaccinations in the U.S.
    • 2% Republicans
    • 10% Democrats
  • 5% Climate change
    • 2% Republicans
    • 7% Democrats
  • 3% Changes in interest rates
  • 2% China’s economic performance

Among those who think the economy will improve, the top drivers include:

  • 19% The rate of COVID-19 spreading
  • 18% Consumer spending
  • 18% Actions by the Biden Administration

On the other hand, among those who see the economy declining, the top drivers include:

  • 45% Actions by the Biden Administration
  • 21% What happens with inflation

In the event the U.S. economy were to experience a downturn over the next 12 months, 70% of U.S. consumers feel they are financially prepared to manage through it, though just 12% claim to be very well prepared.

Still, only 14% wouldn’t make any changes if there was a downturn – while many consumers would take some of the following actions:

  • 55% Reduce their daily spending
    • 41% Gen Z
    • 54% Millennials
    • 60% Gen X
    • 58% Baby Boomers
  • 38% Start saving more of their income
    • 48% Gen Z
    • 46% Millennials
    • 44% Gen X
    • 24% Baby Boomers
  • 35% Seek other ways of making money (e.g. a part-time job or side gig)
    • 41% Gen Z
    • 46% Millennials
    • 36% Gen X
    • 27% Baby Boomers
  • 14% Change their investment strategy
    • 19% Gen Z
    • 18% Millennials
    • 18% Gen X
    • 9% Baby Boomers
  • 13% Meet with a financial advisor to review and adjust their investments
    • 23% Gen Z
    • 16% Millennials
    • 9% Gen X
    • 9% Baby Boomers