Consume less, live more is a trend that is causing the high street to shrink and the experience economy to grow. The dominant value in the 20th century was materialism, according to trend forecaster, James Wallman, the belief that consumption would make us happier. The 21st century is about finding happiness in experiences. Psychologically, while we find instant gratification in purchasing an item, it soon wears off. Happiness lasts longer when it is an experience that makes us happy, as it creates a memory. We can also capture memories on social media and relive these over and over again, triggering further happiness. Few people want to post a picture of their latest sofa purchase online, but they do want to share a photo of themselves kite surfing or herding alpacas. For businesses, the opportunities to leverage the experience economy is huge. From restaurants and bars, arts centres, theatres, travel and hotels, to museums and activities, interest is rising. To tackle the trend on the high street, retailers are redesigning stores with experiences such as yoga classes, fashion shows and miniconcerts to attract experience-seekers. They are also embracing omnichannel to create more intimate and seamless experiences between online and high street. Even supermarkets are getting into the act by competing for the most restaurant-like ready meal.
Did you know?
Euromonitor estimates spending on experiences such as travel, leisure and food service will rise to $8 trillion by 2030.