U.S. Travel Tracker April 2020: Emerging Consumer Segments

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by Haixia Wang + Skift Team - May 2020

Skift Research Take

When and how consumers will travel again might have a lot to do with how their lives' are impacted by COVID-19. Our April travel tracker analysis delves into the details.

Report Overview

Skift Research continues our quest to understand where consumers stand in their decisions about travel and what will change when they start to travel again through our monthly travel tracker survey. Our April survey was fielded on May 7–11, when some U.S. States had already reopened for businesses at various levels.

Overall, we saw some brighter signs across the board. While travel incidences were still dismal, people were more optimistic of the economic recovery and their personal financial improvement. However, is the worst really behind us? With no effective treatment for the virus, now it’s up to the travel industry to up the standards to make sure people can travel safely.

People react and respond to traumatic experiences at the scale of COVID-19 differently. In addition, people’s lives are affected by the pandemic differently. All these will shape how consumers open up to travel. Travel companies need to look deeper into these factors about their core customer segments and offer the right services for them.

In addition to revealing findings on how COVID-19 is impacting travel at the moment, we delve into a few consumer segments that might be resulted from COVID-19 in this report. We find that out of all the indicators, how COVID-19 has impacted a person’s life, real or perceived, has a strong association with changing future travel outlook.

Survey Methodology

Skift Research’s monthly U.S. travel tracking surveys are conducted to examine the travel penetration rates and detailed travel behavior of the U.S. population. The sample population represents the demographic breakdowns of age, gender, income, race/ethnicity, and residential location of the U.S. Census Bureau. Respondents are asked to report if they traveled in the previous month and recall travel-related details if they did. Our January survey was fielded on February 25–28, 2020 with a total sample of 1,002. Our February survey was fielded on March 12–16, 2020, with a total sample of 1,085. Our March survey was fielded on April 8–13, 2020, with a total sample of 1,022. Our April survey was fielded on May 7–11, 2020, with a total sample of 1,077. All surveys were fielded online by a trusted third-party consumer panel provider.

In addition to the factual travel occurrences, we also asked respondents their perceptions on the macro-level economic condition as well their personal financial and travel outlook. Given those questions reflect what respondents felt at the time of the survey, the date for those questions that we refer to in this report is the month when the survey was conducted, instead of the month when travel happened.

What You'll Learn From This Report

  • Travel incidences Jan – April 2020
  • COVID-19 impacted travel Feb – April 2020
  • Changing consumer sentiments on the economic outlook Feb – May 2020
  • Changing consumer intent on future travel April – May 2020
  • Impact of COVID-19 on different consumer segments

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