Non-Essential Spending on the Rise as Americans Feel More Financially Secure

Shopkick survey finds in-store shopping on the rise; apparel, dining out and travel top consumers’ 2021 summer budgets 

With widespread vaccination eligibility and COVID-19 restrictions lifting in many states, a return to normalcy could be on the horizon. As we head into summer, a majority of Americans (83 percent) report feeling financially secure and ready to put their budgets toward non-essential purchases. 

Shopkick, surveyed nearly 13,300 consumers across the country to gain insights into consumers’ shopping behaviors and spending plans for the summer. The online survey was conducted between April 30 – May 3, 2021. 


Key Insights Include: 

  • Summer Spending: Americans are ready to allocate their budgets toward non-essential purchases this summer. This year, 80 percent plan to spend similar amounts or more than last summer on non-essentials, a sharp increase from Shopkick’s April 2020 findings, which found only 33 percent of consumers were spending similar amounts or more on those items. Clothing and accessories (45 percent), dining out (43 percent) and travel (41 percent) top this year’s shopping lists. Other non-essential spending will include hobbies (36 percent), entertainment (25 percent), and household decor (25 percent).
  • Time to Travel: With more widespread vaccinations, 60 percent of Americans plan to resume travel within the next six months. Of those, most plan to travel by car (86 percent) rather than traveling by plane (39 percent), train, or ship (4 percent respectively). At their destination, consumers plan to stay in hotels (60 percent), with friends or relatives (50 percent), or in a vacation rental (25 percent). 
  • New Fits for Gen Z: Most Gen Zers (64 percent) plan to put the majority of their non-essential spending budgets toward new clothing and accessories, compared to Millennials (50 percent), Gen Xers (45 percent) and Baby Boomers (42 percent).
  • In-Store on the Rise: While online shopping was a major trend throughout the pandemic, 74 percent of consumers report shopping online less frequently now than a month ago. 62 percent of Americans feel more comfortable shopping in-store now compared to April 2020, which explains why more than half (61 percent) of non-essential purchases have been made in-store in the past month.
  • Pandemic Purchasing Trends: Certain COVID shopping habits are expected to remain in the coming months, with many consumers saying they will continue to use self-checkout (62 percent), curbside pickup (32 percent), and touchless payment options (32 percent). However, fewer consumers plan to continue using grocery delivery (13 percent), and BOPIS (4 percent).

“It is clear from our findings that this summer represents a great opportunity for non-essential retailers to win back shoppers who are eager to spend,” said Dave Fisch, general manager of Shopkick. “To take advantage of this moment, retailers and brands must continue to monitor consumer expectations, especially in-store, and Shopkick is committed to helping our partners do so.” 



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Dima Volovik

EVP of Product and Engineering

Dima Volovik is the EVP of Product and Engineering at Trax Retail — Shopkick.

Dima Volovik is the accomplished product and engineering leader who led teams to deliver innovative and commercially successful e-commerce products, marketplaces, and enterprise solutions for Amazon, Comcast, Fandango, and Universal Music. Before joining Trax, Dima was the Director at Amazon, where he led product development and Engineering for Amazon Appstore and Amazon Prime Video, CTO at Fandango, and Paciolan, head of technology at Golf Channel/Golf Now, and Global VP of Direct to Consumer Technology at Universal Music Group. Dima’s expertise includes developing consumer products, marketplaces, and enterprise solutions.

Dima grew up in Baku, Azerbaijan, where he received his MS in Electrical Engineering from Azerbaijan Oil Academy, and he currently resides in Los Angeles, California, with his family.