Industry News | November 23, 2011

AMEX Insights Say QSRs Strongest in Slow Economy

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American Express Business Insights today released its series of Q3 2011 Business Insights Spend Sights reports that reveal a new trend of selective luxury spending among both consumers and businesses. 

The reports, which examine spending patterns across several key categories, U.S. cities and demographic groups, suggest a willingness among some consumer groups to loosen the reins on spending for select big-ticket items. 

“While value remains important to consumers, Q3 spending patterns indicate they consider occasional luxury purchases to be worth the expense,” says Ed Jay, Senior Vice President at American Express Business Insights.  “Marking a positive sign for merchants, consumers prove willing to spend but selective on where they choose luxury over value.”

Based on actual, aggregated spending data between July 1 and September 30, 2011, the Business Insights Spend Sights reports provide a year-over-year comparison of consumer and business spending across sectors such as luxury retail, dining and entertainment, and travel. 

The latest Business Insights Spend Sights reports provide a snapshot into the analytical capabilities of American Express Business Insights, which helps companies identify trends and changes in spending behavior across a range of industries and consumer groups. 

By analyzing real spending, businesses can gain perspective into both emerging and sustained trends that impact their industries, and reveal opportunities to reach key customer segments.

Dining and Entertainment Spend Sights:

Consumers chose budget-friendly indoor entertainment more often in Q3, including activities such as billiards, aquariums and bowling. 

These pursuits experienced an 8.9 percent overall increase in spend while outdoor entertainment saw spending drop for the same period over last year. In the dining sector, restaurants took a hit in Q3 as consumers decreased spend on fine dining by 5.5 percent and quick service by 1.3 percent.

Casual-dining declined the most, by 8.2 percent, showing that mid-tier dining establishments have been impacted the most by consumers’ preferences for either value or luxury. 

Regional Spend Sights:

Younger consumers led spending across all five cities studied – Chicago; Los Angeles; Miami; New York; San Francisco – in nearly every category, demonstrating the purchase power of this demographic. 

Most notably, young adult affluents in Los Angeles increased lodging spend by 34 percent and young adult moderates in San Francisco posted a 24 percent uptick on home furnishings. Retail shoppers in New York City decreased transaction volume while increasing transaction size, mirroring the national trend of spending on big-ticket fashion items.

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