Home » New Consumer Priorities: The Resurgence in Leisure and Hospitality and its Impact on Independent Retailers

New Consumer Priorities: The Resurgence in Leisure and Hospitality and its Impact on Independent Retailers

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In what appears to be a striking rebound from the economic lull brought on by the pandemic, Americans are setting vacation records and splurging on leisure experiences, as reported by CNN. Despite predictions of a potential recession later in the year, the leisure and hospitality industry is booming, bringing optimism to independent retailers nationwide.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, restaurants, bars, and hotels were among the hardest hit sectors, with job losses exceeding 8 million. However, robust demand for leisure experiences has now enabled this sector to bounce back and is predicted to recoup all Covid-related job losses this year.

Independent retailers stand to gain significantly from this shift in consumer behavior. With American consumers increasingly focusing on travel, dining out, and in-person experiences, particularly during the summer, local retailers, particularly those in the food and drink sector, can expect a boost in sales.

A recent survey from Bank of America revealed that 68% of Americans plan to take a vacation this year, translating into a potential increase in spending in hospitality businesses. Furthermore, a study from OpenTable found that two-thirds of diners eat out at least once a week, with a third eating out more frequently than they did six months ago.

As the consumer landscape shifts towards prioritizing experiences over goods, independent retailers have the opportunity to adapt their offerings and strategies. They can leverage local tourism and offer bespoke, locality-specific goods that enhance the tourist experience, or cater to the dining-out trend with artisanal food and drink products.

The emerging emphasis on experiences rather than possessions could be attributed to a generational shift. The pandemic has sparked a reevaluation of life’s priorities, especially among younger generations. Instead of saving for a house or retirement, many are choosing to spend on meaningful experiences now.

However, this demand surge is not without its challenges. The National Restaurant Association reports that 79% of restaurants are facing difficulty in hiring, reflecting a larger trend in the industry. Independent retailers, too, might face staffing issues and are advised to consider flexible scheduling and other employee benefits to attract and retain staff.

Despite the looming threat of a potential recession, experts believe that the leisure and hospitality industry might fare relatively well. Consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of America’s economy, and with spending shifting towards experiences, this could bode well for the industry and, by extension, independent retailers.

Ultimately, the resurgence in leisure and hospitality spending offers promising opportunities for independent retailers. As Americans prioritize experiences, retailers have the chance to innovate, adapt, and meet evolving consumer demands, ultimately driving growth even in the face of potential economic challenges.


The leisure and hospitality industry is experiencing a resurgence as American consumers prioritize experiences over goods. Despite potential economic challenges, this shift presents opportunities for independent retailers to adapt their offerings, cater to local tourism, and innovate in response to evolving consumer demands.

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