Changing Consumer Behavior Affects Summer Trends & Spends | RPM

Changing Consumer Behavior Affects Summer Trends & Spends

Changing Consumer Behavior Affects Summer Trends & Spends

Rather than enjoying a typical summer vacation this year, many families are instead planning staycations and participating in socially distant activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The concerns over health safety and abiding by local, state, and federal restrictions have weighed heavily on the consumer psyche, thus weakening consumer confidence to all-time lows. And as a result, weakening the travel industry’s top sectors, including hotels, airlines, cruise lines, and rental car companies.

However, according to U.S. News, “Stir-crazy Americans are beginning to travel again as the summer vacation season gets underway after coronavirus-related stay-at-home orders were lifted across the country.” The article cites air travel, hotel bookings, and car travel is on the rise. “Nearly 30% of travelers have changed their plans in the next six months so that they can drive to a destination instead of fly, and the majority of people with travel plans between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July will be driving, the Longwoods International survey found.” It makes sense that as restrictions ease, consumer confidence will return. But, the typical consumer spending habits will not be the same. For shippers who are familiar with seeing growth in one specific sector or category from years past, the summer of 2020 will look very different. And adapting to the new normal will be absolutely crucial. 

Here are four trending summer activities expected to continue throughout the summer. 


Ghost stories, hiking, fishing, roasting smores, and sleeping under the stars will absolutely be at the top of the list summer. In an article published by USA Today, David Basler, vice president of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds says, "This is going to be the summer of the RV. People have been sheltering in place … and they want to get outside in a safe and responsible way."


The National Golf Foundation (NGF) has seen tremendous growth since the restrictions were lifted back in May. In an article published by NFG, “There’s evidence both anecdotal and scientific that rounds in May might be up significantly over last year as a result of a surge in demand, not only from core golfers, but from beginners and lapsed players too. If this surge proves true (we’ll know in a few weeks when Golf Datatech releases their rounds report for May), and if it persists even partially into the summer months, then we could recoup the rounds and revenue lost in March and April. Put another way, we’ll break even with last year if rounds are up 5% for the period May through December.”


Expect to share the road this summer with enthusiastic cyclists. Bicycle sales are spiking and have been since the start of the pandemic. As reported in the Associated Press, “In the United States, bicycle aisles at mass merchandisers like Walmart and Target have been swept clean, and independent shops are doing a brisk business and are selling out of affordable “family” bikes.”  


As the restrictions are lifted and certain guidelines eased, including the number of people allowed at social gatherings, it’s expected that more group activities will rise in popularity. That has led to a rise in patio furniture sales. CNBC reports, “With the travel industry crushed by the coronavirus pandemic, it’s more than likely that people will be staying close to home this summer. Furniture and home goods retailers are reporting huge spikes in sales of outdoor furniture along with pool, grill and gardening items, as consumers look to make their staycations as fun and relaxing as possible.”

The summer of 2020 will have plenty of challenges ahead for the many businesses that thrive during these months, and the need to adapt and pivot to keep up with the new normal will be paramount. But, the silver lining through all of it is that Americans are ready for summer fun.

If you’re a shipper that supports the summer months and you need to move product quickly, RPM can help. RPM is a Top 50 Freight Broker as named by Transport Topics and one of the fastest growing companies in North America. We operate in the F&B, CPG, Retail, and chemical space servicing multiple sectors within the travel industry.  We work with small, mid-sized, and large-scale companies in every region across the country. If you need a flexible provider who can scale to meet your needs, visit to learn more about our services and see how we can help you. 


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