An American Express/Echo Research poll recently found that 26 percent of respondents said the summer weather encourages them to “spend more spontaneously.” In fact, 43 percent of young professionals under the age of 30 with a college degree and household income of at least $50,000 said the hot weather encourages more spontaneous spending.

When consumers spend spontaneously in the summer, where does their money go wrote Mark Dolliver. Conducted last month, the survey found the catchall category ‘summer outings’ (including trips to a pool, beach or amusement park) atop the list, cited by 63 percent of those who said summer prompts them to spend more spontaneously. Next in the standings was ‘more dinners out’ (cited by 53 percent), followed by ‘summer wear and accessories’ (44 percent), ‘happy hours with friends’ (32 percent), ‘concerts’ (26 percent) and ‘sporting events’ (25 percent).

Still, the survey also showed that many consumers were looking to reduce their debt. Also 15 percent of those polled said they expected to spend more, while 39 percent said they would spend less (with most expecting to spend about the same amount.)

One good thing about cautious spending, from the consumer’s point of view, is that it tends to forestall impulse purchases that are later regretted. Just 9 percent of the survey’s respondents said they’ve ‘made a specific purchase in 2010 that you regret’, noted Dolliver. Among the relatively few respondents who are suffering such buyer’s remorse, 29 percent said it’s due to the purchase of something in the electronics category. Twenty-two percent of those with regrets mentioned apparel/accessories and 16 percent home furniture. Other categories scoring in double digits were automotive (15 percent), travel (14 percent), jewelry (13 percent) and home improvements (11 percent).

Source: AdWeek