Home Travel Health Stats: Omicron Causes Leisure Travel Demand to Fall From Two-Year High

By Matt Turner Feb 2, 2022 07:08am

woman searching flights on laptop
(Photo by anyaberkut/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

After a slight increase last fall, consumer attitudes about travel are facing some turbulence spurred by the latest wave of the pandemic, according to Deloitte’s “Global State of the Consumer Tracker.” Deloitte on Wednesday released the latest data from its monthly survey, which tracks consumer priorities, purchase behaviors, preferences and spending decisions amid the pandemic’s ongoing impact, especially in the U.S.

To that effect, globally, safety perceptions have fallen sharply amid the rise in Omicron cases, affecting activities such as going to the store, traveling and restaurant dining. For some activities, Omicron has erased nearly one year of progress around improving global safety perceptions.

As it relates to travel, the percent of U.S. consumers who cited spending more on material things (versus experiences) increased from 19 percent to 25 percent since September 2021. Similarly, those who cited replacing more in-person interaction with digital services increased from 21 to 26 percent. Since October, the percent of U.S. consumers planning to fly domestically for leisure travel has fallen from an almost two-year high of 43 to 33 percent. Those planning to fly internationally dropped from 30 to 19 percent. Booking intentions for the three months ahead also slipped across most travel products in December, including hotel (47 percent), domestic air (34 percent), cruise (21 percent) and international air (19 percent).

Spending intentions for the month ahead have been gradually weakening, falling from an average of roughly $330 per survey respondent in September to $240 in December. That said, the report notes that, despite Omicron and the decrease in safety perceptions, financial sentiment and discretionary spending intentions for the months ahead remain steady. U.S. consumers expect to spend an average of $4,800 per household over the upcoming month, with one-third (35 percent) of their budgets slated for more discretionary categories such as recreation and entertainment, restaurants, electronics and leisure travel. These spending intentions have remained virtually unchanged over the past several months.

Source: Deloitte

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