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The New Trend of Women Investing More in Travel and Dining Experiences

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  • Women's increased spending on dining and travel is a sign of their rising economic power and desire for enriching experiences, not frivolity.
  • The trend reflects a shift towards the experience economy, with a focus on personal growth, cultural immersion, and intentional holidays.
  • Despite higher expenditure on experiences, women are also mindful of their savings and investments, showcasing a balanced approach to personal finance management.

In the wake of the pandemic, a fascinating trend has emerged: women are allocating more of their budgets to dining and travel. This pattern, however, is not indicative of careless spending but rather a testament to their rising affluence and a deliberate choice to invest in life-enriching experiences.

The Shift in Spending Patterns

According to recent data from UOB, there has been a 42% increase in overall spending among the bank's female credit cardholders in Singapore between 2019 and 2023, with dining, travel, and retail topping the list of expenses. This uptick is not just a local phenomenon but a global one, reflecting a shift in priorities post-COVID. Women are not just opening their wallets more frequently; they are doing so with intention and purpose.

Digital marketer Lee Liyan exemplifies this trend. Once confined to her home due to the pandemic, she now embraces travel with renewed vigor, opting for longer, more immersive holidays. "In the past, I would take four to five short getaways each year... Now, I take longer holidays, of at least nine days, to further destinations," says Ms. Lee. Her spending on travel has doubled, but these are not impulsive splurges. They are "more 'intentional' holidays," where she immerses herself in the culture and explores destinations at a leisurely pace.

Empowerment, Not Extravagance

This increase in spending is a reflection of women's growing economic power and their role in the consumer market. Jacquelyn Tan, head of Group Personal Financial Services at UOB, notes, "This shows the rising affluence in women and their growing influence towards purchasing power." It's a narrative of empowerment, with women taking charge of their financial destinies and choosing to spend on what enriches their lives.

The Experience Economy and Women

The trend also aligns with the broader concept of the experience economy, where consumers, especially millennials and Gen Z, prioritize experiences over material goods. A survey by Klook reveals that 64% of millennials and Gen Z are budgeting more for travel. Women, in particular, are driving this trend, seeking out experiences that offer personal growth and self-discovery.

A Balanced Approach to Finance

The notion that increased spending equates to a lack of savings is a misconception. A 2023 survey by Fidelity International shows that 89% of women in Singapore rate rising living costs as a chief concern. Women are balancing their desire for quality experiences with prudent financial management, ensuring that their spending habits are sustainable in the long run.

The rise in women's spending on dining and travel is a multifaceted phenomenon. It's about empowerment, intentional living, and the pursuit of experiences that contribute to personal growth. As society continues to navigate the post-pandemic world, women are leading the charge, redefining what it means to spend wisely.

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