Data Analytics

Actionable Insights Co. Facteus Finds ‘Experience Economy’ Shift

Data from millions of consumer financial transactions shows trends in travel, video games and movies

Facteus, the leading provider of actionable insights from financial transaction data, today published a new consumer spending report, providing a critical lens into how the vaccine rollout and loosening of pandemic-related business restrictions contributed to consumer spending activity. The report titled, “The Experience Economy Plots Rebound,” shows a shift in consumer spending previously geared toward ‘things,’ has since transitioned to a penchant for spending on ‘experiences.’

The report is based on transaction data from millions of consumer card transactions, sourced directly from financial institutions, fintechs, and payments companies, covering more than 1,600 companies and 520 publicly traded stock tickers. The full report can be downloaded at

Key findings from the report include:

  • Millennials and Gen Z Driving the Rise of Revenge Travel: Across the travel industry, consumers are eager to make up for lost time, with the new trend of ‘revenge travel.’ Many are hitting the road in droves, creating huge demand across car rentals, airlines, and lodging – and millennials and Gen Z consumers are the ones opening their wallets the most. Across almost all of the travel categories these two generational segments contributed the most to spending growth compared to both 2020 and 2019.
  • Video Game Boom or Bust: With consumers previously stuck inside, video games were a viable option for entertainment. In the past, video games have been recession proof, as the industry tends to do well despite economic crises. And that was the case once again throughout the crux of the pandemic, particularly the first three months. More recently, video games-related purchasing slowed during the spring months, but returned to positive grown in June.
  • Night at the Movies vs. Streaming: When movie theaters went dark in March 2020, Hollywood was left scrambling for alternatives to release big-budget films that were already on the docket for the spring and summer months. With movie theaters closed for the entire spring and into the summer of 2020, it was streaming services that thrived. Netflix saw six straight months of record-setting growth globally in the first half of 2020, while Hulu also experienced significant growth in 2020, registering its biggest bump during Q3 when it added 3.4 million subscribers to hit 35.5 million total. When theaters reopened with blockbusters like “Black Widow,” the weekly spending declines narrowed and chains such as AMC and Cinemark finally neared positive year-over-year growth compared to 2019 for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

“There is clearly demand for experience-driven spending across the consumer sectors hardest hit by the pandemic, much of which we are seeing is being driven by Millennials and Gen Z,” said Chris Marsh, CEO of Facteus. “Our transaction data can act as a window into consumer behaviors and indicate how traditional spending patterns changed over the course of the pandemic and better understand which trends are likely to endure.”

Business and investment analysts using Facteus data can gain granular insight into consumer spending and business impact at the industry level (retail, entertainment, hospitality, etc.) or at the specific company level. The transactional data offers a comprehensive, real-time perspective into evolving customer behaviors, such as where consumers are shopping, how much they are spending at specific merchants, and through which point of sale (in-person or online). This granular view can provide investors and analysts an informational edge when making investment decisions, sizing markets, or developing new products.

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