Is experiential gift giving a threat to retail?
According to the NRF’s final consumer holiday spending survey of the season, about 22 percent of consumers are planning to give an experience-type gift and 37 percent would like to receive one. However, those numbers jump significantly for Millennials.
More than one-third of both 18-24 (36 percent) and 25-34 year olds (35 percent) are planning to give a gift of experience, and half say they would like to receive one (55 percent of 18-24, 50 percent of 25-34 year olds.) Two in five (43 percent) 35-44 year olds would like to receive an experience gift.
Some examples of such gifts included tickets to a sporting event, cheese of the month club, gym membership, spa service, art/learning classes, or an adventure outing like whitewater rafting or a hot air balloon ride. Still, the survey showed that many had already made traditional purchases.
"Consumers don’t have to go far to find something perfect for the foodie, fashionista, thrill-seeker or sports enthusiast in their lives," said Pam Goodfellow, principal analyst at Prosper, which conducted the survey, in a statement. "With retailers quickly getting in on this trend by offering their customers ‘bundles’ for the perfect experience, it really is a win-win for consumers and retail companies this year to tout these unique gift ideas."
In its 2015 holiday survey, PWC found Millennials and "selectionists" (household earning more than $50,000) were driving a growing trend toward experiential gifts, such as travel and entertainment. Overall, it found experiential gifts would account for 12 percent of holiday spending versus physical gifts (68 percent) and gift cards (20 percent).
Many websites offer a range of experiential gifts. While some stores offer cooking classes and REI and Cabela’s offer outdoor adventures, most don’t sell experiential gift packages.
New research from Washington University in St. Louis and Cornell University finds that experiential gifts can be much more meaningful. But physical ones are often given, according to a press release, "to avoid giving poorly matched gifts to socially distant recipients, leading to less happy consumers in the end."
- 90 Percent of Holiday Shoppers Still Have Lists to Wrap Up – National Retail Federation
- 2015 Holiday Outlook: Millennials matter; experience is essential – PWC
- The Experience – Cabela’s CLUB – Cabela’s
- REI Adventures | Adventure Travel & Active Vacations Worldwide – REI
- Cooking Classes Featuring Chef Kelly Fong At Whole Foods, Napa – Patch
- How well you know someone makes all the difference in choosing the best gift, Olin researcher says – Washington State University
- Skip the wrapping paper. A memorable experience is a much better gift. – Washington University
Do you see experiential gift giving taking an ever-larger amount of dollars typically spent on traditional holiday gifts? Are retailers well suited to sell experiential gifts?