Americans Ready to Put Pandemic in Rearview and Spend Big
Encouraging COVID-19 Trends
There are signs the pandemic could be easing, with COVID-19 case numbers on the decline in many spots. But this sense goes beyond just medical data. Americans are heading out on the town more often, and an increasing number of venues and businesses are eliminating mask mandates.
Concerts, summer music festivals, and theme parks are also dropping many COVID-19 related requirements. For example, the organizers of the 2022 Stagecoach Festival and Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival have announced the elimination of vaccination, test, and mask requirements. Similarly, fully vaccinated guests no longer need to wear masks at Disney (DIS) locations, unless within enclosed transportation.
Stepping Out: Entertainment Spending Soars
Disney is also a good example of increased consumer spending, as theme park revenue surged in the final-quarter of 2021. A closer look at Americans’ dining habits is further telling, especially looking at beverage revenue. PepsiCo (PEP) and Coca-Cola (KO) report rising drink sales at places like restaurants and movie theaters as more people go out.
Of course America’s soft-drink giants would be happy to see more thirsty customers buying up their products at sporting events and concert venues. Food service company Aramark (ARMK) reports attendance was robust throughout this past NFL season. Now it hopes Major League Baseball’s season will provide another boost for business, provided the league can overcome its current labor dispute with its players.
Vacations’ Comeback Impacting Travel Sector
Online lodging marketplace Airbnb (ABNB) reports Americans are ready to hit the road this summer. Executives predict international travel and visits to American cities will increase, and bookings are up 25% when compared to the summer months in 2019. MGM Resorts International (MGM) indicates hotel bookings are above pre-pandemic levels following a brief Omicron-related slowdown.
The Omicron variant’s impact on the airline industry received significant news coverage, but analysts say demand for plane tickets went through a temporary setback rather than a true downturn. Alaska Airlines (ALK) executives have predicted volume will be at pre-pandemic levels by the start of the summer. Signs seem to be converging that Americans will be on the move in the coming months — and opening their wallets.
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