Times are pretty crazy at the moment.
Consumers have hardly any spare cash to spend after ten consecutive months of steep interest rate rises. Yet you would never know it if you visited an airport, where queues are sneaking out of the terminal building.
These contradictions exist because of the stifled freedoms and pent-up savings Australians accumulated during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Consumers just want to have some fun now.
Here are two ASX shares to buy that could benefit from this theme:
International travellers are back
Wilson Asset Management equities dealer Cooper Rogers likes the look of Experience Co Ltd (ASX: EXP).
"It's benefiting from the recovery of the international traveller," Rogers said on a Wilson video.
"We're seeing increased spend on experiences, rather than goods, particularly from our Chinese and Indian travellers. We expect that to really bode well for Experience Co."
The Experience Co share price has dropped 8.3% over the 12 months, but it has gained a handsome 14.6% since the start of 2023.
According to Cooper, there is one particular business unit that's going gangbusters.
"The skydive division is the one you want to look at. It's got massive operational leverage and with those increased numbers coming back, a lot of that incremental revenue is going to drop through the bottom line," he said.
"EXP is a buy for us."
Even back in 2021, in the midst of the COVID-19 delta lockdown, one expert predicted a boom two years later for this company.
"When international tourists return en masse, hopefully in 2023, it's our belief that this lean, restructured business will be significantly more profitable than ever before," said Forager Funds chief investment officer Steve Johnson.
Hungry for earnings upgrades
Another spending habit that endures even during tough economic conditions is fast food.
In fact, with consumers wanting to spend less eating out, the quick service restaurants become more appealing compared to fancy dining or even mid-price options.
This is why Wilson senior equity analyst Sam Koch considers Restaurant Brands New Zealand Ltd (ASX: RBD) a buy at the moment.
"If you've been to a KFC in NSW recently, you definitely would have been helping our holding."
As well as the KFC brand, the franchisor operates Pizza Hut, Carl's Jr and Taco Bell outlets across New Zealand, Australia and US Pacific territories.
"What we're really attracted to is the fact that whilst input cost inflation has impacted their business…, we see that troughing and actually recovering from here," said Koch.
"And you saw that in the last result."
The stock fell off a cliff late last year, resulting in a current share price that's less than half what it was six months ago.
This gives investors a buying opportunity, according to Koch.
"Earnings upgrades and deploying excess capital are the catalysts we're looking for tos ee a re-rate back to the prior multiple that it traded on."