The New York Times article Stores Suffer From a Shift of Behavior in Buyers covers the growing consumer trend towards purchasing experiences over objects. Key quote:
Analysts say a wider shift is afoot in the mind of the American consumer, spurred by the popularity of a growing body of scientific studies that appear to show that experiences, not objects, bring the most happiness ... Millennials — the 20- and 30-something consumers whom marketers covet — would rather spend their hard-won cash on out-of-town vacations, meals with friends, gym memberships and, of course, their smartphones, many surveys suggest.
Of course, this is not a new trend. The 1999 book The Experience Economy covered this shift in detail.
But the rise of social media has led to people wanting experiences they can post about on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and elsewhere. This is clearly helping to drive the growth in experiences. We've seen this many times in our work with the growth of food trucks being a great example.
The retail industry is fighting back by trying to provide more experiences as part of the shopping experience.
According to an article from advertising giant JWT, retailers are turning into "third places":
"which are increasingly focused around experiences, unique environments and customer service – giving shoppers new reasons to spend time in these spaces"
We agree that experiences are winning over things and expect this trend to continue to expand.