Experience Gifts Emerging as Xmas Favourites

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthNovember 26, 20184min

Brits are set to spend £1.6bn on experience gifts this Christmas in an effort to cater for a ‘got it all’ generation, new research has found.

The data from Barclaycard shows that nearly one-in-five (19 percent) UK shoppers plan to choose an experience-based present for their loved ones, shelling-out an average of £129 each – a 115 percent compared to last year.

The rise of the ‘experience economy’ has seen Brits favour spending their money on entertainment and events rather than material possessions, with the research indicating that this now rings true for the presents we buy each other too. Almost half of Christmas shoppers fear that friends and family will be given the same gift twice (46 percent), while 36 percent worry that they will struggle to find the perfect present.

When it comes to the reasons for choosing experience-based Christmas gifts, the data shows making memories to be most important (18 percent), while giving the recipient something to look forward to (17 percent) and buying for ‘the person that has everything’ (15 percent) were also taken into account. However, it seems an ulterior motive could also be at play as a fifth (19 percent) of Christmas shoppers confess they buy experience gifts in the hope they will be invited to take part in them too.

While often considered altruistic, millennials were shown to be considerate gift-givers, with 38 percent admitting the main reason they buy experiences for their parents is to enjoy some quality time together.

 Gone are the days of writing wish lists full of clothes, tech and gadgets – 64 percent of Brits do not plan to write a Christmas list this year, with 41 percent preferring to buy physical items for themselves, and a third (33 percent) feeling that they already own too many possessions. Over half (56 percent) even admit they would rather receive experiences over material gifts because they’ve already ‘got it all’.

Some of the most popular experience gifts bought for others include live entertainment, such as theatre tickets (31 percent) and concert tickets (26 percent), spa and beauty treatments (27 percent), and meals out and culinary courses (26 percent).

Daniel Mathieson, Head of Sponsorship at Barclaycard, said: “Brits are fed up with receiving stockings full of socks or the same customary cosmetics and chocolates year after year, we now expect more from our loved ones. Not only do we want presents that provide entertainment, we want to create long-lasting memories too, meaning for many, physical items no longer cut-it as Christmas gifts.

“The emotion and excitement of giving and receiving an experience is something money can’t buy, particularly when it comes to activities that can be shared. What’s truly heart-warming though, is that people want to spend more time with their friends and family and are choosing presents they can enjoyed together while also providing something to look forward once the festive season is over.”


Paul Ainsworth

Paul Ainsworth

Experienced Irish journalist and former newspaper editor now helming executive editorial duties with Customer Experience Magazine, the UK's premier online source for Customer Experience news, features, and opinion, along with its sister site, CXM World.




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