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From the Food-Obsessed to the Fashion Devout, Americans Budget to Fund "Passions" During Recession and Beyond American Express Spending & Saving Tracker Finds: Fashionistas Most Guilt-Ridden While Sports Fanatics Keep a Clear-Conscience; Foodies And Techies Are Biggest Spenders
NEW YORK,  September 9, 2010 -- 

While Americans remain budget-conscious and focused on saving since the onset of the economic downturn, the majority (68%) say they did not decrease spending in the areas they are most passionate about – food (60%) electronics and gadgets (35%), sports (34%) and fashion (25%), according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. Moreover, nearly half of sports fanatics, foodies, and techies say they enjoy spending on their passion without ever feeling guilty, while fashionistas were more likely to admit feeling guilt pangs about their spending (50%).

This month’s American Express Spending & Saving Tracker surveyed consumers on their spending habits across four popular areas of interest: food, electronics and gadgets, sports and fashion – as well as current spending and saving intentions. The research sample of 2025 consumers among the U.S. general population included two subgroups – the affluent and young professionals.

Passions Get a Pass When it Comes to Budget Cuts
Sports fanatics were most apt to forgo cuts (76%), followed by techies (67%), fashionistas (54%) and foodies (53%). Sports fanatics were also least likely to feel guilty about spending on their passion, while fashionistas were most likely to.



Enjoy spending on my passion and I never feel guilty

Enjoy spending on my passion, but I often feel guilty

Sports Fanatics












Foodies and techies lead the pack in average annual spending on their passion in 2010, followed by fashionistas, and sports fanatics. On average, foodies appear to spend significantly more on their passion annually ($2,447) compared to the other three groups: fashionistas ($1,444), techies ($1,329), and sports fanatics ($725). Consumers also prioritized spending on larger ticket items and ranked what they spend on most often to indulge in their passion:



Sports Fanatics


1. Fining Dining (35%)

1.Desktop/computers (28%)

1. Occasional tickets to sporting events (34%)

1. Shoes (70%)

2. Top of the line appliances (12%)

2. Video game equipment and games (24%)

2. Sports –related gear, i.e. jerseys and hats (33%)

2. Apparel (68%)

3. Culinary Vacations (8%)

3. Televisions (23%)

3. Sports –related cable TV packages (16%)

3. Accessories (49%)

“Americans are placing their passions high on their list of spending priorities, while continuing to manage to balance their budgets,” said Pamela Codispoti, American Express executive vice president and general manager, Consumer Card Products. “This is encouraging news, as concerns rise about whether the economy is stabilizing.”

Consumers Shift from “Pay Down” Mode to “Save More” Mode
In a year-over-year comparison, more than one-third (37%) of consumers anticipate spending less over the next 30 days (a slight drop from 40 percent last September) and cite saving money (55%) as the top reason. In fact, asked how they would spend $500 found on the street today, consumers were significantly more inclined to say “I’d save it” this year (42%) compared to last year when only 26 percent said they’d save it. The most popular way to spend found money last year was to pay monthly bills.

“Consistent with rising national savings rate, consumers are now prioritizing saving above reducing debt compared to last year— that may be due to the fact that some people have made headway in bringing their debt levels down,” added Codispoti.

About the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker
The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed online among a random sample of consumers aged 18+. The research sample of 2025 consumers among the U.S. general population included two subgroups – the affluent (household income $100k+) and young professionals (under 30, college educated, household income $50k+). Interviewing was conducted by Echo Research between August 17 and August 20, 2010. Overall, the results have a margin of error of +/- 2.2 (or 4.3 among affluents and among young professionals) percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence. For access to previous American Express Spending & Saving Tracker results, please visit

About American Express
American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at and connect with us on, and