Ref: GS-Social-consuming-experiences


Consuming experiences

Would you rather live to experience or live to consume stuff? The experience economy is one of the fastest growing trends. Enabled by technology, lives lived on social media are driving millennials, in particular, to shun consumption over experiences such as travel, festivals and events.

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.

S. Usborne. "Just do it: the experience economy and how we turned our backs on ‘stuff’." The Guardian, 13 May 2017. (accessed 19 December 2018). C. Bremner. "How Should Business Respond to the Rising Demand for Experiential Consumption?" Euromonitor International, 30 October 2017. (accessed 19 December 2018).


In a rapidly changing global environment, how do we keep track and make sense of the different events and trends around us?  What are the missed opportunities we could have known about?

At IMD we believe these are crucial questions that business leaders need to be asking themselves.  “IMD Global Signals™” help you explore the various trends (signals) happening in the world. The signals are regularly updated to reflect the changing times.