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Axe throwing and hard seltzer: Here are 2020's hottest spending trends

Hot consumer spending trends for 2020
Hot consumer spending trends for 2020 01:50

Get ready to go axe throwing while wearing leopard print clothes and drinking spiked seltzer come January 1.  

These are among the fastest-growing spending trends in entertainment, fashion and food and drink that are expected to continue to grow in popularity in 2020, according to data from mobile payment processor Square.

Square analyzed millions of transactions from sellers across the country in 2018 and 2019 to predict where consumers will spend the most money in 2020. 

Here's a list of what's expected to be hot — and what's not — next year based on sales at businesses that use Square technology. Because sellers don't always itemize their transactions, the numbers should be considered conservative estimates, according to Sara Vera, Square's trends analyst.

Axe throwing on target

The Canadian pastime has become a craze in the United States, too, with dedicated axe throwing bars becoming popular among friends and work colleagues celebrating birthdays and other milestones. 

Consumers spent more than $6 million on axe throwing experiences through Square sellers in 2019 — a 317% increase in sales compared to 2018. On average, the cost of throwing an axe at a target is $34.12 per session, according to Square. 

Ax in the target, entertainment throwing an ax
Axe and you shall receive: Spending on axe throwing rose 317% last year, reports the mobile payment app Square. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Other experiences that are rising in popularity include e-bike rental sales, which grew 50% in 2019 from 2018 levels, as locals and visitors embraced cycling as an efficient and eco-friendly way to get around town.

"Those are all trends that are picking up steam and we suspect they will continue to grow next year. If you are a seller in that industry, there's a market there you can cater to," Vera said.

Experiences that have fallen out of favor include "sound baths" with music that surrounds participants and sends them into meditative states. Their sales increased just 13% this year after jumping 239% the year prior.

Hard seltzer sales expected to spike

Square sellers sold $11.2 million worth of hard seltzer in 2019, up 500% from 2018. "This boozy trend that blew up in 2019 is here to stay," Square said in its analysis.

A can of hard seltzer, which is about 5% alcohol and comes in fruity flavors, costs $6.50 on average, according to Square. White Claw's mango, black cherry and natural lime flavors are among the most popular varieties of hard seltzer on the market.

Sales of flash brew — Japanese-style iced coffee that is rapidly chilled to lock in flavor — were up 308% year-over-year. The drink costs about $4 a cup. 

Also In the drinks category: a 26% decrease in sales of rice milk, one of many grain-based milk alternatives that consumers may be starting to sour on. 

Leopard print is spot on

Spot-on fashion trends include anything leopard print — skirts, shoes, scarves and leggings, especially. Sales of the patterned clothing and accessories were up 160% in 2019 compared to 2018, according to Square. 

Street Style At The 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival - Weekend 2
Dad sneakers, like this style from Balenciaga, should remain popular among consumers going into 2020. Getty / Presley Ann

So-called dad sneakers with chunky soles have also grown in popularity — sales jumped 135% between 2018 and 2019 — thanks, in part, to model Bella Hadid. 

Chokers, on the other hand, may be officially out of style, the Square results suggest. Sales dropped 10% from 2018 to 2019. 

Hydrojelly face masks unblemished

The highest growth rate Square recorded was in sales of hydrojelly face masks — up 1,700% from 2018 to 2019.

Square sellers registered $138,000 in sales for the emerging beauty treatment, which uses a jelly-like substance to hydrate, exfoliate and tone the skin. Cera called it a "niche" spending trend with a lot of room for growth.

"Hydrojelly face masks are a new entrant to the market, but face masks in general are seeing big sales growth," Vera said. 

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