People prefer experiences to physical gifts, study finds

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People are turning to experiences instead of material gifts this holiday season, according to a study by GetYourGuide.

“With the holiday season upon us, along with the familiar rush to shop for gifts, our data is showing more and more people are choosing to share an unforgettable experience and create meaningful memories with their loved ones instead of giving a physical gift,” Madison Pietrowski, director of Brand US at GetYourGuide said.

According to one survey, instead of a physical gift, 51% of people prefer a trip or some type of travel, 40% want to go to a show, 30% prefer outdoor activities like skiing or hiking and 27% want to visit museums.

In 2021 about 62% of consumers hoped for gifted experiences, which jumped up to 77% in 2022 and is now at 92% in 2023, according to the site.

Auli’i Camacho, a BYU global supply chain student, mentioned that her love language is quality time.

“Being able to make memories with the people I love is the best gift I could ask for. I also love to travel and experience new things … while material things are great, they depreciate over time, but memories last forever,” she said.

Camacho said she had the chance to take a family trip to Madeira, a small island off the coast of Portugal, last summer.

“In the early 1800s, my father’s family emigrated from that island to Hawaii. It was a special experience for me being able to walk on the same soil my ancestors once did long ago, a moment I’ll cherish forever,” she said.

Camacho and her mom, dad and younger brother. This was the view on the mountains of Calheta, Madeira. (Photo courtesy of Auli’i Camacho)

Jade Tahau is from Australia and now lives in Idaho. She said she prefers experiences over gifts any day.

“I think that experiences last longer than materialistic things, and memories are things that you can take with you and share with others whereas material things you can’t really,” she said.

Tahau’s family lives out of the country, and she said likes to visit them instead of receiving gifts.

“A lot of the times, my family is overseas in Australia, Korea or New Zealand. It’s just always been good to see them and make memories — to me that is worth spending time and money on,” she said.

Yleana Sampson, a BYU student, feels that memories always last longer than things. She mentioned the worth of family time is much greater than traditional Christmas gifts.

“I don’t really remember the gifts I got when I was like five years old, but I do remember the trips I went on. When I’m a mom, I would like to do the same for my children, like they’ll open a box and there is tickets to Disneyland or something. That would be so fun,” Sampson said.

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