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The Dark Side of a “Staycation”?

Sarah Quinlan |

Everybody knows that the new hot trend is the “staycation”—remaining tethered to the homestead or nearby during time off, going for day trips and foregoing airline travel and its hassles for family fun.

MasterCard Advisors’ shopping tracker SpendingPulse™ indicates that U.S. consumers took advantage of easing gas prices leading into the Fourth of July holiday, and drove a 4.5 percent year-over-year increase in July retail sales (excluding auto). While that July number represents a slight dip compared with the 4.7 percent growth seen in June, this is still healthy growth compared with the 3.2 percent average growth rate seen in the first half of the year.

A change in the pattern of spending was that gasoline spending  outpaced overall retail spending for the first time since  October 2012.  In fact, gasoline spending, which was up approximately 8.3 percent in July, helped make up for weakness in other retail categories such as Jewelry, Grocery Stores and Department Stores.

Which begs the question: are Americans taking their vacations at the ranch because it’s more fun, or because they want to save money? And if they did go away, would they spend more?

Topics: Economic Outlook

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