Non-prime Consumers Spending More Responsibly on Vacation


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FORT WORTH, TX – July 24, 2018 – 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 suggests.


"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 nonprime 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.


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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