STAYCATIONS ARE SO LAST YEAR: YOUNG FAMILIES ARE BACK ON THE ROAD THIS SUMMER
YOU N G FA M I L I E S O U TLO O K STAYCATIONS ARE SO LAST YEAR: YOUNG FAMILIES ARE BACK ON THE ROAD THIS SUMMER by Norma Blatto Chief Marketing Officer Our365 David Braunstein Senior Vice President, Strategic Services MBS July 2010
Page 1 This quarter the consumer survey Young Families Outlook examines young families’ summer travel plans and their feelings about the economy. YO U NG FA M I L I E S O U T LOOK Despite concerns about the economy’s slow upward crawl, Young Families are back on the road for summer 2010 after a summer at-home last year. The survey was co-authored by Our365 (www.our365.com), a leading life-stage relationship marketing company, and MBS (www.mbsinsight.com), a leader in customer-centric marketing analytics and strategy. The families participating in the quarter’s survey were recruited from Our365’s customer email database of 3 million households, with whom they maintain direct, permission-based marketing relationships. Responses were collected in April 2010 from more than 2,900 households with at least one child under the age of six. References are made to the most wealthy and least wealthy survey responders with wealth defined as geographic purchasing power based on income and assets. Survey responses are compared to national averages reported in the Conference Board’s April Consumer Confidence Index. Young Families Confidence Index The Economy is Bad Young Families have a disproportionately negative view of the economy relative to the total US population. When asked if the economy was good, normal or bad, an overwhelming percentage of Young Families reported that the economy was bad, 78% compared to 40% for the total US population. Though the least wealthy survey responders were somewhat more likely to see the economy as performing badly at 79%, the most- wealthy were right behind them at 75%. Despite the overwhelmingly negative response to the state of the economy this past spring, many Young Family survey responders are optimistic about the future. Though half of Young Families think the economy will still be bad 6 months from now or could worsen, a third of responders believe that the economy will improve before the end of the year. The number of Young Families who see a near term improvement is considerably higher than the national average of 20%. Figure 1: More Young Families Think the Economy will Show Improvement in the Near-Term
Page 2 Employment Picture Half of Young Families think the employment picture will be the same this YO U NG FA M I L I E S O U T LOOK fall as it is today. The other half is split, with those who believe employment opportunities will improve edging out those who think it will worsen (25% better vs. 19% worse). Here again Young Families are more optimistic than the general population, where 18% think the employment picture will improve and 20% think it will get worse. Figure 2: Young Families are more Optimistic than Pessimistic about Employment Prospects Personal Income Young Families tie their own economic prospects to the general economy and employment – just over half (55%) believe their family income will be the same in 6 months while 21% think it will improve. Young Families are twice as likely to be optimistic than the general US population, where only 10% believe their personal income is likely to improve before the end of the year. Figure 3: Young Families See Personal Income Holding Steady or Improving Wealthier Young Families Are More Optimistic Wealthier Young Families are generally more optimistic than those less well off. Of the wealthiest families responding to the survey, 33% believe the economy is likely to improve by fall compared to 25% of less wealthy families. Though half of both income groups believe the employment picture will be the same in 6 months, wealthier families are almost twice as likely to believe employment will improve, 30% vs. 18% for less wealthy families. With regard to future prospects, families with more wealth, and therefore
Page 3 starting from a higher base, are more likely to project the same income in 6 months, 59% vs. 48% for less wealthy families, with 21% projecting higher YO U NG FA M I L I E S O U T LOOK income in 6 months (vs. 24% for less wealthy families). Young Family’s Optimism Out-Weighs the General Public’s Half of Young Families are holding their breath, believing that their own economic prospects – and the country’s - are likely to stay the same through the fall. Young Families who believe that the economy, employment and personal income will improve are significantly more optimistic about the future than the average American. Perhaps Young Families’ extreme pessimism about the economy today is a function of fewer assets, less work experience, or inexperience with the cyclical nature of good times and bad times. And perhaps their relative optimism about the future is a reflection of their youth and a feeling that time is on their side. Whatever the reasons, Young Families were clear about one thing—this summer they are looking forward to one of America’s most revered traditions: the family vacation. Summer Vacation Plans Young Families are planning to travel this summer. More families are planning to take vacations (58%) than not (42%), and half of the families surveyed reported that their plans are unaffected by changes in the US economy or family finances. Not surprisingly wealthier families are more likely to report plans for a summer vacation (63%) than those who are less wealthy (48%), though both income groups reported that the economy “somewhat changed their vacation plans” at exactly the same rate (35%). For responders whose plans for vacation had changed, both groups cited the inability to spend as much as they had in previous years. For many families summer vacation will be the traditional road trip. Three out of four families (71%) plan to travel by car, with most visiting a destination more than 200 miles away (67%). Sixty-two per cent are planning on trips from 4-7 days and will spend less than $1,000 (59%). A third of all families, no matter their income, are planning to stay with family or friends. Figure 4: Most Young Families Will Spend Less than $1,000 on Vacation
Page 4 Wealthier families will spend more (over 50% will spend more than $1,000 vs. less than 30% of less wealthy families), will vacation longer (38% YO U NG FA M I L I E S O U T LOOK will vacation 6-7 days vs. 23% for less wealthy), are more likely to travel farther (70% will travel 200+ miles vs. 55% less wealthy families) and are more likely to travel by plane (with 30% of wealthy families flying vs. 19% for less wealthy families). The types of kid-friendly entertainment families are looking for this summer include outdoor activities like hiking, biking and swimming (68%), fun places to eat (65%) and amusement parks (41%) followed by arts, culture and educational experiences (39%), music events (12%) and sports events (12%). Less wealthy families are more likely to visit an outlet or shopping mall than wealthy families (38% vs. 29% respectively). Family Meals Eating at fun places is not just a favorite vacation activity, but an important part of many Young Family’s daily routine. For Young Families who choose to eat out a few times per month, 64% eat at casual restaurants like Applebee’s and TGIFriday’s, 58% eat at fast food chains like McDonalds and Burger King and 48% eat at fast casual restaurants like Panera Bread or Chipolte. Moms report that McDonald’s is their child’s favorite restaurant by a huge margin. Though 17% of Moms say they never eat at fast food chains, an equal number (18%) report eating fast food once or twice per week. Figure 5: Where and How Often Young Families Eat Out For families with children past the baby stage, 53% report never serving their children dinners different from the rest of the family, though nearly 10% report serving different meals to the children every day. Sixty percent of less wealthy Young Families report never feeding their children meals that are different from the rest of the family’s vs. 48% for wealthy families.
Page 5 Survey responders acknowledge their children’s influence on where the family eats—over 80% report at least some influence on dining decisions, YO U NG FA M I L I E S O U T LOOK with 12% considering themselves highly influenced and 18% reporting no influence at all. When ranking children’s influence on decisions regarding meals, similar percentages of both wealthy families and less wealthy families take the middle road and acknowledge some influence (29% for wealthy families, 33% for less wealthy families). Figure 6: Children of Young Families Influence Decisions on Meals When deciding where to eat, 56% of Young Families rank price as the most important factor, followed by time and convenience (45%). Considered least important are special promotions (58%) and “family favorites on the menu” (41%). Surprisingly more than a third of Young Families (37%) rank nutritional value as the least important factor when choosing where to eat. For those influenced by promotions when choosing a restaurant, “kids-eat- free” ranks first at 58%, followed by coupons (48%) and “two-for-one” entrees at (47%). Though many parents worry that they are sacrificing nutrition for convenience, families agree that fast food and casual restaurants have menus that work for everyone in the family, the food tastes good and the kid’s like them. When eating at home families are most likely to combine fresh with prepared food (83%) followed by cooking from scratch (67%) and least likely to take home prepared dinners from a supermarket (83%) or from a restaurant (70%). When Young Families want to do something special together watching a movie at home with snacks after dinner is a favorite at 62%. Catching a movie at a theater after eating out is ranked least likely at 77%. About the Survey The Spring/Summer Young Families Survey was fielded on April 9, 2010. A total of 819,321 surveys were deployed with 2,984 families responding. 310 families with the lowest wealth rating responded vs. 768 families with the highest.
Page 6 About MBS YO U NG FA M I L I E S O U T LOOK MBS, a division of e-Dialog, is a strategically-focused, full service marketing database services provider with unsurpassed capabilities in database design and management, strategic consulting, analytical services, address hygiene, and data processing. With a track record of four decades of growth and innovation, MBS has attracted a “who’s who” among the world’s leading brands, including: Tiffany & Co., Bloomingdale’s, Hanesbrands, and Brooks Brothers. For more information, please contact Collette Coyne, Director, Marketing Communications, at 631-851-5073 or visit http://www.mbsinsight.com.