Holiday 2021 Travel Season Looks Merry and Bright

Consumer spending on travel this year is expected to be higher than pre-pandemic 2019.

October 12, 2021

Holiday Commuters

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—A PWC survey shows that a significant amount of people will travel during the holidays this year, reports Axios.

Typically, about one-third of people travel during this time, but the survey shows more than half (52%) plan to travel. Most people will go by car (72%), and 57% with household incomes over $150,000 will fly.

Though many airlines are adding flights to popular destinations in anticipation for the holidays, there will be higher prices and limited availability most likely, as demand will outstrip availability. Rental cars will also be a hot commodity.

United is upping flights and will fly its busiest holiday schedule since the pandemic, but at 3,500 daily flights in December, it’s still at 91% of its capacity.

"We're seeing a lot of pent-up demand in our data and are offering a December schedule that centers on the two things people want most for the holidays: warm sunshine and fresh snow," Ankit Gupta, vice president of network planning and scheduling at United, told Axios.

Additionally, consumers plan to spend more on travel, with holiday travel spending projected to increase by 69% in 2021 over 2020. Travel is even expected to be higher this year than 2019, with average related spending expected to increase 24% to $461 from $372.

Retail sales this holiday season should increase between 7% and 9%, while e-commerce sales are projected to increase by 11-15% year over year. Holiday retail sales should hit $1.28 trillion to $1.3 trillion from November to January, and holiday e-commerce should reach between $210 billion and $218 billion this season.