You’re Invited...But Bring Your Own Food

Business Wire

American Express Survey Finds Consumers Will Spend More Than $400 Per Party,
But Nearly Three in Four Will Ask Guests to Bring Food

June 30, 2011

Public Company Information:


NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nearly two-thirds of consumers (64 percent) say they have home entertainment plans this summer, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. The average gathering is no small affair – those with plans to entertain will host an average of 17 guests and expect to spend $422 per party. Affluent Americans will shell out $200 more, spending an average of $625 per party. Backyard barbecues, celebrations for birthdays and graduations and July 4th soirees were named as the top three types of summer get-togethers.

The latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker1 explores consumers’ spending and saving behavior as it relates to summer activities and entertainment. The research sample of 2,004 adults included the general U.S. population, as well as two subgroups – the affluent2 and young professionals3.

“Consumers aren’t holding back on party plans this summer which is good news for supermarkets and retailers,” said Pamela Codispoti, executive vice present and general manager of Consumer Card Services, American Express. “Our survey revealed that many Americans will be doing more than simply grilling hot dogs and serving beer. Nearly forty percent who said they plan to entertain this summer will also invest in home improvements -- like outdoor furniture and accessories -- in advance of their summer parties.”

B.Y.O.F. (Bring Your Own Food)

Food (96 percent) and drinks (87 percent) top the shopping list for this summer’s parties, with an average cost of $173 and $97 respectively. Rising food prices is likely one of the reasons why nearly 3 in 4 consumers with entertaining plans (72 percent) will ask their guests to contribute something to the party. In the Northeast and North Central region, a side dish and dessert are the top requests, while hosts in the South and West are asking for drinks in addition to side dishes.

Americans will also devote a portion of their summer entertaining spend to the following:

  • Decorations – $61 (43 percent)
  • Toys/games for kids – $71 (29 percent)
  • Entertainment – $139 (26 percent)
  • Invitations – $33 (22 percent)
  • Sports equipment – $82 (19 percent)
  • Party Planner – $143 (7 percent)

July Isn’t Just For Parties – It’s The Most Popular Month for Camp

In addition to splurging on summer parties, parents of children under 18 are also spending an average of $573 on camp this summer. Spending on summer camp remained relatively consistent compared to last year, with 85 percent of consumers saying they’ll spend more (42 percent) or the same (43 percent) as they did last summer. Sixty-two percent are sending their kids to sports, academic, day and overnight camps. On average, these parents say their children will spend five weeks (26 days) away. The most popular month for camp? Nearly nine in ten parents (87%) will send their children to camp in July.

Beyond the Fun and Games: Kids Expected to Do Their Share

For most kids, summer isn’t all about camp and parties. The majority of parents expect their children step it up around the house with summer chores. Eighty-nine percent children between the ages of six and 17 are responsible for chores this summer. Laundry is among the most popular chores with nearly one-half (45 percent) of parents tasking their children with washing and folding clothes. Other popular jobs include washing the dishes/unloading the dishwasher, taking care of pets, vacuuming, dusting, taking out the trash and keeping their rooms clean. More than 7 in 10 (71 percent) parents pay their children for completing chores. Kids who do the laundry can expect to earn an average of $25 per month.

Among teenagers between 13 and 17, more than one third (36 percent) will hold summer jobs outside of the home and the same percentage are also expected to do chores around the house. On average, these teenagers will earn about $650 per month during the course of the summer from their summer job, and $82 per month for completing their chores. That means the average teen working between June and August could save more than $2,000 this summer.

American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed online among a random sample of 2,004 consumers aged 18+. Interviewing was conducted by Echo Research between June 16-21, 2011. Overall, the results have a margin of error of +/- 2.2 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

1 The research was conducted online June 16-21, 2011 among a random sample of 2,004 adults aged 18 and older.
2 Affluent - defined as having a minimum annual household income of $100,000.
3 Young Professional - defined as less than 30 years of age, having a college degree, and a minimum annual household income of $50,000.

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American Express
Leah Gerstner, 212-640-3174
Padilla Speer Beardsley
Tracy Carlson, 612-455-1717

About American Express

American Express is a globally integrated payments 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

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