Will American families be reuniting for the holidays?

We explore how Americans are feeling about making travel plans and reuniting with family and friends during the holidays.
02 December 2021
American families getting together for the holidays
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We know that many families have been unable to gather due to COVID-19 restrictions over the past 18 months. In fact, 70% of people we interviewed in the U.S. missed events with family and friends in this time. But as we near the start of this holiday season, consumers are beginning to make plans for gatherings and holiday celebrations. So, what will their plans look like this year? Will they reunite with loved ones or still feel the distance and disruption the global pandemic has brought about? 

Kantar recently conducted a global online survey to explore how much and what people will be investing in this festive season. Discover some of our findings from the U.S. here as well as additional answers within the complete report.

What are people most looking forward to this festive season?

Coming together with loved ones is the most prominent area of excitement for people in the U.S., with 71% of respondents reporting they are most looking forward to gathering with extended family and close friends this festive season. Six out of 10 people in the U.S. will come together with up to 10 people for their main celebration, with 44% looking to travel for gatherings.

The feasts these festivals bring is also in much anticipation, with more than half of U.S. respondents also looking forward to the food (57%). 

What concerns and precautions are there for people looking to travel?

In the U.S., 47% have concerns about gathering with family and friends.

A third of people in the U.S. will not be taking precautions when gathering with family and friends (33%). However, 27% will wear a mask when meeting with others and the same amount plan to limit their group size.

What will they be spending money on?

In the U.S., spending will be mostly unchanged in comparison to previous years. Food and drink will see the highest increase in consumer spending for a quarter of respondents (25%) while their spend on travel will be reduced for a quarter of respondents.

American spending habits for 2021 holidays

How confident are people in making travel plans?

Almost six out of 10 people in U.S. who plan to travel for the holidays are feeling very confident in making travel plans and have already booked.  A quarter have explored their options and feel they are ready to book. However, 13% say they will hold off until closer to the time and 3% of people in the U.S. won't take the risk at all. 

How dependent on child vaccination are these plans?

More than half of those we interviewed in the U.S. say that they will only travel if their children (under 18 years old) are fully vaccinated, dependent on approvals and availability (53%). While 11% say they will travel regardless of their children’s vaccination status.

Get more answers 

For more findings from this study, access the complete Community Report: Connecting with Reunited Families on our global site. Find additional country specific answers on gathering over the past 18 months and more. 

About this study

This research was conducted online among 8,001 people across eight global markets: US, UK, France, Germany, India, Singapore, China and Brazil. Respondents were sourced from the Kantar Profiles Network. All interviews were conducted as online self-completion between 19 and 28 October 2021.  

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