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American Express Business Insights Releases Latest National and Regional Spend Data for Travel, Luxury Retail, Dining & Entertainment SectorsNew "Spend Sights" Reports Show Companies Continue to Spend on Air Travel and Dining while Consumers Invest in their Homes with Furniture and Home Furnishing Purchases
NEW YORK,  December 15, 2010 -- 

American Express Business Insights today released its series of Q3 2010 Business Insights Spend Sights reports, which analyze changing patterns in spending across various categories, US cities and consumer groups. Based on actual, aggregated spending data between July 1 and September 30, 2010, the Business Insights Spend Sights provide a snapshot into the spending areas seeing improvement, and those yet to rebound. The reports cover sectors such as luxury retail, dining and entertainment, and travel during the third quarter of 2010 as compared to the third quarter of 2009.

Spend Sights: A Glimpse into Actual Spending

The latest Business Insights Spend Sights reports reveal a glimpse into the analytical capabilities of American Express Business Insights, which helps companies identify spending trends across a range of categories and consumer groups. By analyzing growth patterns and areas of cutbacks, businesses can gain insight into how emerging trends may be affecting their industry. Providing both off-the-shelf and highly customized consumer spending reports, American Express Business Insights released the quarterly Spend Sights series to serve as a sampling of data available to companies as they look for opportunities to help grow their businesses and target their best customers.

Data Highlights

Businesses Take to the Skies and Dining Rooms, Albeit with Value in Mind

  • Travel Report:
    Given that corporate budgets have long been considered industry bellwethers for future spending patterns, data from Q3 Spend Sights Report: Travel suggest that the corporate travel segment is on the rebound, and that value is a top priority. Business class ticket purchases dwarfed the first class category, increasing by 60% overall while the front of the plane saw an overall decrease of 1%. A deeper dive into business class airline ticket spending reveals that US small and large businesses led this latest uptick with spend increases of 71% and 68%, respectively. Businesses overall, in fact, grew spending more than consumers in general and across all other travel sectors during Q3, including lodging, cruise and automotive rentals.
  • Dining and Entertainment Report:
    In the Q3 2010 Spend Sights Report: Dining & Entertainment, American Express Business Insights data shows that large businesses, defined by a minimum of one hundred employees, are leading consumer groups in quick service dining spend with a 13% overall increase. Affluent consumers lagged behind with just a 7% increase in spend for QSRs over the year prior, a marked change from Q2 year-over-year results, which saw the group post a dramatic increase in quick service spend (24%). The golf sector saw a decrease in spend for every consumer category except large businesses, which increased spend on the sport by just 2%. Theme parks, on the other hand, enjoyed a healthy 12% spend increase by the affluent consumer group during Q3 as summer brought wealthy vacationing families to the nation's themed playlands.

Consumer Spending Habits Reveal Pronounced ‘Homing Instinct' and Holiday Anticipation

  • Luxury Retail Report:
    Companies aren't the only ones loosening up the purse strings despite ongoing economic uncertainty. According to the Q3 2010 Spend Sights Report: Luxury Retail, dollars spent on furniture and home décor increased 13% in Q3 over last year, continuing a six-month trend of increases and suggesting that consumers are riding out the housing downturn by opening up their wallets and feathering their nests -- and doing so quite enthusiastically in regions such as Miami and San Francisco. Spending patterns in the other retail categories, including apparel and accessories, jewelry and department stores, also grew in Q3, but the modesty of those increases may indicate that consumers were holding back in advance of holiday shopping sprees.

Furniture and Lodging Hot Categories in Warm Cities

  • Regional Report:
    The Q3 2010 Spend Sights Report: Regional data shows dramatic spending trends in several major cities and across different demographics. In Miami, for example, young adult affluents took to nesting in a big way as their spend on housewares and furniture increased by a startling 54%. The nesting instinct had a decidedly different flavor in Los Angeles -- and was embraced by a different demographic -- as mature affluent spenders invested in hotels, motels and inns and drove a significant 41% increase in lodging spend.

"Looking at segmented capsules of consumer spending information can help merchants identify valuable trends as they look to adjust and strengthen their businesses," said Ed Jay, Senior Vice President at American Express Business Insights. "The latest Spend Sights data shows that we are entering a ‘new normal' in consumer spending, where dramatic category shifts are occurring and new, influential spending groups are emerging. These insights are critical for businesses as they work to understand their changing customers and how to better meet their wants and needs," he added.

The data above and many more insights are included in four new American Express Business Insights Q3 2010 Spend Sights reports, available to media for free download at

About American Express Business Insights
As part of the Global Merchant Services organization within American Express Company, American Express Business Insights provides in-depth, actionable insights into consumer and business spending at the business, industry and geographic levels, leveraging proprietary transaction data from the American Express network of approximately 90 million cards in force across over 125 markets.

American Express Business Insights produces in-depth quarterly reports for the Airline, Car Rental, Cruise, Lodging, Restaurant, Entertainment and various Luxury Retail categories, as well as sector-specific

About the Q3 2010 Spend Sights Reports from American Express Business Insights
To identify changing spending habits across various regions, American Express Business Insights examined US consumer and business spending patterns at tens of thousands of merchants. The data shown in the reports are derived from transactions on the American Express payment network projected to reflect the general population in the industry, consumer and business segments shown. The data do not represent American Express's own performance in the industry segments shown and do not represent the spending behavior of American Express Cardmembers overall or in any particular Cardmember segment.