Originally posted on LS4 Events.
I went to my friend Bobbi's art exhibition a few weeks ago, and I had a really interesting conversion with her boyfriend. He told me that he'd read somewhere that people were spending more money on experiences and events than ever before, and that experiences were becoming a preferred purchase over physical products.
The more I thought about it, the more I realised that it makes complete sense. Not only have I seen this to be the case myself (especially whilst living in London), but I am guilty of it, too.
With the huge rise in recent years of event and experience websites such as Meetup, Eventbrite, Wowcher, and Groupon, a whole host of new event and experience concepts have cropped up that didn't exist before. Whether it's cheap spa days, comic conventions, or lego workshops, it's obvious that people desire exciting new experiences more than ever.
And with the increasing use of self documentation through sites such as Instagram, it's no wonder that events and experiences are just as attractive as the latest Apple smart phone. It gives us a chance to brag to our Instagram followers and 'build our online brand' (whatever the hell that means). We can look cool and gain digi-approval.
However, on the flip side, it is good to get back into the real world, once in a while, right? Especially when we're spending so much time with our heads glued to our phones. Let's hope people get to enjoy the experience instead of selfieing the whole way through it...
Joke's aside, my artist friend's boyfriend believes that because of increasing living costs (particularly with rent and travel costs), and with an inflation rate and salary rise rate that doesn't keep up with these costs (especially for those who live in big cities like London), people simply can't afford materialistic objects as much as they used to (unless they use their credit card), so a quick £25 spa day on Groupon does the job a good'un.
Personally, due to busy work commitments, I am not as social as I used to be, but I do love making up for it through unique experiences, and sometimes lavish ones at that. It's obvious that many others feel the same way. They want a night to remember. They want to cherish their limited time with their friends, and how best to do it over a cocktail tasting session for four?
In June 2017, people in Britain spent 12% more on entertainment such as gigs, cinemas and the theatre than normal. That's a pretty big rise. It's bad for the retailers, but it's good for us event managers!
Social media and the coupon era has also made this possible. It's arguable that without social media, most of these ideas would fall short, but with the sub communities being created on social media, it's far easier to hear about events of interest, and online impulse spending makes it a fire sell.
We could go down the avenue of saying that this is a bad thing due to retailers being hit, but I'd say it's a good thing, because it shows that people are going out of their way to have a good, memorable time. And let's face it. It beats sitting down the same old predictable pub every Friday night drowning our sorrows. And it also connects us to new people which we wouldn't have otherwise met.
Through my own events that I have organised, I have made lifelong friends that I never would have met had it not have been for the experience industry and technology. So whilst, I hate that we live in a world where everyone stares at their smartphones all day, I do love that something positive comes out of it.