Experiences are Better Than Possessions, Research Shows

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A recent survey to compare spending money on ‘things’ (possessions) with spending money on experiences has found that the latter makes people significantly happier. The Director of experience day company Experience Mad explains why.

A memorable helicopter ride

The thrill of riding in a helicopter is more memorable than a material purchase

Sharing an experience creates a bond that most normal gifts just can’t replicate – that’s why companies treat their staff to days out; it brings people together and they’ll talk about it for years.

Against a backdrop of statistics showing that desk jobs, technology and gadgets and increasing levels of inactivity are making people unhealthy and ill, a recent survey to compare spending money on ‘things’ (possessions) with spending money on experiences has found that the latter makes people significantly happier. This comes as no surprise to Steve Clark who, as Director of experience day company Experience Mad, is in pole position to see what drives his customers to buy for either their own enjoyment or to give as a gift to be enjoyed by others.

“The insight I’ve gained into the ‘things versus experiences’ debate is that people seem to value life experiences over objects these days, because everyone has so much more. The message seems to be that the more ‘stuff’ you have, the less you appreciate it,” said Steve. “When it comes to buying a ‘thing’ there is so much choice it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. But when it comes to helicopter rides, spa visits or adventure holidays, nothing beats the thrill, the sense of luxury or whatever intense feeling it is that you’ve chosen.”

The research backs up this idea – at least, partially. Fifty-seven percent of the people surveyed said that experiences made them happier and thirty-four per cent said things – material goods – made them happier. The thinking behind it is that experiences improve over time as people remember the highlights and re-visit them in their minds – plus, experiences are often social. Things, on the other hand, devalue, get old, and often prove to be not that memorable, or social.

“The type of experience that gives the most reward depends on the person and their interests,” says Steve. “For some people facing a challenge or feeling adrenalin pumping through their veins is what makes something memorable, fun and rewarding whereas for others that’s what makes it something to endure rather than enjoy. But sharing the experience definitely enhances its impact, which is why the majority of our customers are buying gift experiences that they’ll share with at least one other person. Sharing an experience creates a bond that most normal gifts just can’t replicate – that’s why companies treat their staff to days out; it brings people together and they’ll talk about it for years.”

There is a downside, which is that a poor material purchase is easier to forget about than a poor experiential purchase. However, a positive experiential purchase makes people significantly happier than a positive material purchase – something that gift buyers everywhere would do well to remember. Plus, it’s almost certain to be a darn site healthier.

About Experience Mad:
Experience Mad was born in August 2003 out of a desire to share all the amazing experiences life has to offer with as many people as possible.

Visit the website http://www.experiencemad.co.uk to see a range of new and exciting experience days at the best locations, in the best planes, trains and automobiles money can buy and all at the best possible prices. For people who prefer to relax to the max there are also spa days, hotel breaks and a variety of other unforgettable treats on offer.

Experience days are the most unique gifts you can buy someone for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, as incentives for your staff, or just because you feel like it.

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