Today is a regular weekday, and if you’re like many other Americans, you’ll be surfing the internet in search of a vacation getaway. And most likely, you’ll be isolating your search to the mountains, prairies and oceanside towns of the United States. Online searches on domestic travel far outweigh the volume of searches on travel abroad. In 2020, we all became a bit restless at home with time to fantasize about our next adventure. 2021 is apparently the year to bring it to life. Americans are dusting off their golf clubs, tennis rackets, hiking and beach gear, and to the joy of retailers nationwide, they’re grabbing clothing, travel gear, tech accessories and more; not to mention, the boom in convenience store and rest stop sales, as highway travelers swing in for beverage, snack and miscellaneous specialty items.
While the decision to travel again is a personal one, Google search data is probably the closest we can get to an inside view on the travel sentiment across America. Google Search audit on trends in “vacation getaway,” “weekend getaways near me,” and others, demonstrate that hitting the highway, or the friendly skies, is on everyone’s mind.
According to Affirm, one of the biggest players in the Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) point-of-sale industry, travel is definitely making a comeback. Their recent white paper on insights and trends cites that more consumers are traveling now than three months ago, and even more plan to travel in the next quarter. About 50% of U.S. consumers plan to splurge on experiences like travel and travel-related shopping as post-pandemic buying behavior “returns to normal.”
So with all of these plans to break out of the house, consumers are reaching for their wallets not only for that longtime elusive vacation, but for all of the travel-related items needed before and during said vacation. And yes, this “travel boom” is creating a significant uptick in sales in the retail category. From fashion and flip flops, to outdoor gear, travel tech, toiletries and snack hauls at c-stores, retailers everywhere are benefitting from the fact that so many Americans are done with staying home.
A recent article in Forbes.com sums it up well, “There’s so much opportunity for retailers this summer, from fan-favorite small, local businesses to DTC favorites expanding their footprints. Social activities, summer travel, and various levels of returning to the office reflect that people are hungry to resume life as we knew it. While shopping habits and behaviors are forever changed, new opportunities to delight shoppers abound.”