American Lifestyles 2014: Looking Forward - US - April 2014
“In 2014, it appears that America has finally stopped holding its collective breath, waiting for another economic shoe to drop. After five years of slow but steady growth, Americans have passed the tipping point of prolonged economic worry and have cautiously accepted that things are better. Confidence in personal finances has allowed consumers to think about the future rather than linger over the past.”
– Fiona O’Donnell, Category Manager – Multicultural, Retail, Lifestyles & Leisure
Americans’ spending topped $10 trillion in 2013 for the first time as consumer confidence rose amid a growing economy. The outlook for 2014 continues the positive trend with spending expected to increase further – more than three times the projected rate of inflation for the year. Meanwhile, Americans are saving less and less. Combined, these data portray an American consumer who is less focused on past financial difficulties and reducing spending at all costs, and instead paints a picture of greater optimism.
While attitudes adopted during the recession (eg saving money) are not completely wiped from memory, penny-pinching appears to have faded over the past year as spending in nonessential areas such as dining out, vacations, leisure and entertainment has outpaced spending overall – and is expected to continue.
However, the current upcycle in the stock market has hit its fifth year of gains, making it one of the longest-running bull markets in the post-WWII era. Near-record longevity has spurred a debate about whether the market has neared the top; furthermore, economic conditions over the past decade have caused some paranoia. History has taught that the good times can’t last forever – which also contributes to American consumers’ continued caution.
This report provides a comprehensive overview of Americans’ spending in 2013 in total as well as across 16 areas of consumer spending. A demographic profile of Americans and future projections, as well as an examination of the economic conditions impacting Americans is also included. An in-depth analysis of Americans’ purchasing priorities, their economic outlook, attitudes toward shopping, use of online tools to increase convenience/search for lower prices, personal goals including a focus on health and wellness aspirations for 2014 are also presented.
This report builds on the analysis presented in Mintel’s American Lifestyles: Five Years Later – US, April 2013, as well as the 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007 reports of the same title. The report also includes findings from more than 90 other Mintel reports across 16 consumer markets: food (at home); dining out; alcoholic beverages (at home); alcoholic beverages (out of home); non-alcoholic beverages (at home); beauty and personal care; OTC healthcare remedies; household care; clothing, footwear, and accessories; technology and communications; vacations and tourism; leisure and entertainment; home and garden; transportation; personal finance; and housing.
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