5 signs of the Experience Economy revolution — from Barclaycard

5 signs of the Experience Economy revolution — from Barclaycard

Five signs of the experience economy revolution

How Brits are picking experiences over stuff

14 Jun 2017 13:00

NOTE: This article is lifted from Barclaycard.

Experiences as products. Paying for memories instead of things. That’s the experience economy, and it’s booming in the UK right now.

A recent report from Barclaycard found that people are spending more on the experience economy than last year. While overall consumer spending was up by 2.8% year-on-year to May, spending on experiences is rising far faster – entertainment spending, for instance, rose by 12%.

Today, people are increasingly investing in themselves, crafting their life and status through what they do, not what they own. The experience economy touches lives through technology, social trends and spending behaviour. Here are five signs that it’s even bigger than we might have thought.

Show and share

The economy of experiences loves the crowd, and so the rise of social media culture has nurtured it. People share their experiences digitally, connecting with others through the way they choose to live. Nearly 2 billion people worldwide use Facebook, the largest social network; with 1.2 billion people using the second largest, WhatsApp. So, the tools are already here.

The tendency to ‘curate’ personal lives on social media means that people need a source of unique experiences that get a swift response from their network. This has led to a boom in companies that provide experiences, from event hospitality and gaming through to travel adventures. The companies providing such services are honing their products through constant testing and feedback from users, amplifying their own evolution – making for a faster pace of development than ever.


We can eat the world

You can see the experience economy arriving on every high street. In fact, you can taste it, in the boom of casual dining. A report by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers in 2016 found that the number of food-led outlets had grown 14.6% in the previous five years, while the number of drink-led venues fell by 14%.

Barclaycard’s figures confirm this trend. Amazingly, Brits spent 11.7% more on dining out in May 2017 when compared with the same month in 2016. As pubs embrace ‘gastro’ and casual dining, restaurant chains such as Nando’s, Wagamama and Gourmet Burger Kitchen are providing a fast and informal way to experience a meal.


Getting to ‘Peak Stuff’

IKEA’s Chief Sustainability Officer Steve Howard spoke at a climate conference last year to explain how Western society was reaching ‘Peak Stuff.’ This is the idea that we are getting to a point where we own far more than our needs demand – and this from the world’s best-known mass producer of furniture. You know what that means: it’s officially a thing.

Barclaycard consumer research from May 2017 reveals that 34% of people prefer to spend on experiences over objects, but that is not the only sign of the experience economy. Retail brands are starting to bring experience into the way they engage with consumers. It’s about creating an ongoing, sustainable relationship; in some regions, IKEA has mattress-return or furniture recycling programmes that add extra value through a shared ongoing experience.


Taking the experience economy abroad

A Barclaycard report on tourism spending trends has shown that the experience economy continues to grow even when British consumers go on holiday. It suggests that people are looking to get more experiences out of their travel budgets, even when it comes to their sleeping arrangements. According to the report, 31% of British holidaymakers showed interest in hotels providing experiences for guests such as ice hotels or glamping.

A responsible experience

The experience economy is embedded in environmental sustainability. Adding value through experiences can be done in a sustainable way, yet this is only the start of how the experience economy is shaping a more responsible world.

Services such as AirB&B and Uber let us maximise the use of our most expensive assets: property and cars. Consumers are making more of what they already have, and in doing so they are creating better experiences for each other.


We’re all mobile now

The experience economy has been built on the back of one technology: the smartphone. People can be anywhere while they work, maintain friendships and share information. Instead of sharing goods, people are sharing thoughts. WeAreSocial, a social media analyst, released a 2017 report that found more than half of the world are using smartphones, accounting for half of the world’s web traffic. Now, enjoying new experiences does not cut you off from the world, and being away from your home or office does not cut you off from your social or work life.

Consumers can now engineer their lives to consume experiences, choosing where they work, socialise and shop by how it makes them feel. This is a ‘curated’ experience of life that can be uprooted and edited as the mood, and trends, take the consumer.


I have 3 questions for you:

  1. Are you spending less on stuff, more on experiences?
  2. Do you know that experiences lead to more happiness than things?
  3. What 3 experiences will you have in the next week that you won’t post on social media?

Share your thoughts with our growing community on Facebook’s Stuffocation group.

And for the original article from Barclaycard, click here.

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