US Insights

Spring break beats prom

Rob Callender

Associate Head of Polycultural & Inclusivity Insights

Brands 03.15.2016 / 09:50

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Shifting attitudes between generations make Spring Break a better business opportunity than Prom

It's hard to imagine a more iconic teen rite of passage than Prom. Beyond the pomp and pageantry, it's a time for teens to try on the trappings of adulthood. But Centennials tell us Prom isn't their most important event—or even the one they put the most budget toward when Spring finally rolls around.

Sure, Prom still allows teens to test-drive adulthood for a night. But as parenting styles shift and Centennials learn that the world isn't always friendly or forgiving, today's teens are growing into maturity at a much earlier age. It's possible that adulthood just doesn't seem as distant or aspirational to Centennials. Perhaps that's why an overwhelming majority say they prioritize an event that lets them escape maturity over one that celebrates it.

Key Numbers

  • 71% of Centennials say Spring Break is more important than Prom

Download our Generations At A Glance below.

Spring Break rules. When looking at the business opportunity, Spring Break is the clear winner. More Centennials tell us they are traveling for Spring Break (33%) than going to Prom (24%). What's more, they’ll spend more on their vacation ($775 among those traveling for Spring Break) than their big night out ($543 among those going to Prom). When taking population into account, the market value of Spring Break is almost double that of Prom ($8.5 billion versus $4.3 billion).

Still, despite the fact that Centennials are planning to spend more on Spring Break, only 42% associate it with being “Expensive,” compared to 72% for Prom. Spring Break may cost more, but the experiences associated with it provide Centennials with more perceived value.  

Spring Break: stay-cation or week-long party? While “fun” tops their list of descriptors for the week, it’s time to shed visions of teens going crazy at a beach party: Almost 30% of Centennials tell us they’re actually staying home.

Perhaps more compelling for brands: 17% of Centennials didn’t have plans yet at the time of fielding (February 2016), creating an opportunity to develop local experiences, or make it easy for them to pull the trigger on a larger, last-minute excursion. Spring Break is a time for Centennials to take a breather from their generally stressful, future-focused lives, and just be teens for a bit. They’re looking forward to that opportunity to Iet loose, but don’t expect them to go crazy or take dangerous risks. These are still Centennials we’re talking about after all; there’s a balance between this fun break with their mature outlook on life. 


Source: Kantar Futures

Editor's Notes

Data source: TRU Youth MONITOR Spring 2016 Mobile Study. Download our Generations At A Glance above. Journalists, to speak with the experts or inquire about data, contact us. Follow @Kantar and sign up for our insight alerts. 

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