Market Overview

Center for the New Middle Class: Non-prime Consumers Spending More Responsibly on Vacation


Non-prime consumers are significantly less likely to be taking to the
road for vacation this summer, opting for staycations instead, and
spending far less on vacations if they take one, a new study released
today from Elevate's Center
for the New Middle Class
(CNMC) found. The study comparing prime
Americans with non-prime – those with credit scores below 700 –
underscores previous CNMC research that indicates how non-prime
consumers are more responsible spenders than the conventional wisdom

"While disheartening that so many credit constrained Americans are
unable to enjoy summer vacations away from home, it is reassuring to see
responsible spending habits in place," said CNMC Executive Director
Jonathan Walker. "As our research has frequently indicated, non-prime
Americans are not financially illiterate or unable to manage their money.

"Often they have the same income as their prime counterparts, but they
simply have fewer options available. They can't just whip out a credit
card to cover vacation costs like their prime counterparts can, so for
many a staycation can provide a retreat from the day-to-day grind, while
not spending the big bucks for a vacation," Walker said.

Key findings from the CNMC survey conducted in June include:

  • The non-prime are 29% less likely to take a vacation
  • The non-prime are 22% more likely to "staycation"
  • If they do take a vacation, the non-prime spend half as much
  • The non-prime are 2x as likely to have turned down a vacation due to
    financial constraints
  • The non-prime are 61% more likely to borrow money for a vacation
  • Non-prime spend 18% less per child on summer entertainment
  • Those with children were more likely to take vacations and borrow
    money to cover costs

The research also indicated that across both credit segments, summer
community resource utilization (i.e., pools, parks, libraries, etc.) was
relatively high, with more than 85% in both segments using these
facilities. Summer entertainment expenses per child were also very
similar between the prime and non-prime groups.

"Credit constrained Americans are so often impacted by income volatility
and a lack of savings. While prime Americans often have the luxury of
saving for a summer vacation, this is often much harder for the
non-prime. On the bright side, this study indicated the non-prime group
is looking ahead and setting parameters for what they can and cannot
afford," said Walker.

About the Research

This study represents results from a CNMC survey of 1,005 U.S. consumers
(317 with non-prime and 609 with prime credit scores). Interviews were
conducted in June 2018 to learn about behavior and attitudes around
summer spending. To view the entire report, click here.

About Elevate's Center for the New Middle Class

Elevate's Center for the New Middle Class conducts research, engages in
dialogue, and builds cooperation to generate understanding of the
behaviors, attitudes, and challenges of America's growing "New Middle
Class." For more information, visit:

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