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People Eager to Treat Themselves to Bigger Purchases in 2021, Survey Finds

  • Two-thirds of respondents in recent survey say they plan to spend more on at least one discretionary item this year
  • Travel, entertainment, and dining out among the most popular splurges
  • Forty-four percent say they’ll take on debt for a major purchase

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

About two-thirds of American adults plan to spend more on at least one discretionary item this year, according to a recent survey by The same share said they plan to make some sort of celebratory purchase in recognition of easing COVID-19 restrictions.

The survey was conducted in May and collected 2,663 responses. The results reflect the long-anticipated pent-up demand as consumers found fewer opportunities for discretionary spending during the pandemic and increased their savings rates.

  • Among those planning to increase their discretionary spending, 35 percent said they would spend more on travel, 26 percent on entertainment, 26 percent on bars or restaurants, 25 percent on home renovations, and 21 percent on clothing or accessories
  • Forty-four percent said they were willing to take on debt to treat themselves to a major purchase; people were most willing to take on debt for an automotive purchase (15 percent), home renovations (14 percent), and travel (12 percent)
  • Younger respondents, men, and those with minor children were most willing to say they would take on debt for discretionary purchases

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