IHS GLOBAL INSIGHT
AAA / IHS forecast a record 100.5 million travelers for year-end holidays, an increase of 1.4 percent from 2014
Travel during the year-end holiday period will top 100 million for the first time, as the 1.4 percent growth will be driven by rising incomes and low prices, boosting consumer spending three percent above year-ago levels.
Steady Growth in Autos
Due to the extended length of this holiday period, car travel accounts for an even higher share of overall travel than in other holidays. Nearly 91 percent of all travelers (91.3 million travelers) will take to the road this year, an increase of 1.4 percent from 2014.
Air Travel Will Remain Stable
- Air travel is forecast to grow only slightly from 2014, with the 5.76 million travelers just 0.7 percent higher than last year. 2015 will mark the fourth straight year of air travel growth and the second highest air travel volume since 2006.
- The 2015 year-end holiday period is defined as Wednesday, December 23 to Sunday, January 3. This 12- day period is one day shorter than in 2014.
- 2015 will be the seventh consecutive year of year-end holiday travel growth, and the 100.5 million travelers will be 17.3 percent above the 2008 recession-driven low.
- In terms of percentage growth, travel by other modes will outpace both automobile and air travel in 2015.
- Gas prices averaged $2.14 in November, and as of December 8, were 64 cents per gallon below prices from one year ago.
- Disposable income is expected to increase 3.1 percent as wages rise and prices remain flat, but consumers are expected to increase spending only three percent as they remain cautious about their finances.
- Real GDP is forecast to be just 2.1 percent above last year, while the unemployment rate is expected to be 0.6 points lower.
- Household net worth is up 4.5 percent over last year, as both the housing and equities markets show moderate growth.
- The consumer surveys are mixed, as the Consumer Comfort and Consumer Sentiment are above 2014 levels while the Consumer Confidence index fell sharply in November and is below last year’s level.