The Currency of Experience Has Global Value

Research from YouGov on behalf of Priority Pass™, the world’s leading and original airport experiences program, has found that the trend for experiences over material goods is global. Surveying over 10,000 people from nine countries across all corners of the world, the data showed that we all overwhelmingly value shared experiences – which manifests most clearly in the form of holidays.

Global Currency of Experience Barometer

Here are the top ten activities people around the world value the most (from most valued to least valued):

  1. Cultural holidays overseas
  2. Holidaying at home
  3. Wellness and spa holidays abroad
  4. Overseas city breaks and weekends away
  5. Going out for a meal
  6. Solo travel abroad
  7. Catching a film at the cinema
  8. Attending live events
  9. Sporting holidays overseas
  10. Buying luxury items

Click to view the full infographic

The Next Big Thing consumer futurist, William Higham, said: “People increasingly look for more ‘meaning’ in what they do, therefore possessions are proving less valuable than experiences, and the memories and learnings that we gain from them. In future, what we do will matter more – to us and our peer network – than what we buy. We’ll also care more about status updates than status symbols. This will be encouraged by the growing importance of social media across all age groups, since experiences typically offer better opportunities to post photos and updates than products.

“The preference for experiences will stand the test of time even during future recessions – the study has found the growing demand is not confined only to those in high income brackets, but is popular across the board. Additionally, since spending money on experiences is also particularly strong amongst millennials, we are likely to see this skyrocket as this generation reaches peak purchasing power in the coming decade.”

Christopher Evans, Joint CEO at Collinson, the operator of Priority Pass, said: “It’s no surprise that travel has topped the global leader board. Thanks to globalization, a drop in travel prices, and better online services, it’s never been easier for people to plan and book a trip. Where we’re now seeing the biggest shift amongst travelers is the demand for more personalized and customer-centric services as part of the travel experience, even before they’ve reached their destination. Whether that’s escaping the hustle and bustle in a luxury lounge, indulging in a sit-down meal in a great restaurant, enjoying a relaxing massage, or even just having their flight information in the palm of their hand via an app. We certainly find that people now expect extra touches on top of their travel experiences to make them even more enjoyable and special.”

Travel tops the table

  • 46% of people enjoy holidaying at home, while 42% enjoy domestic short-breaks and 41% enjoy exploring other cultures overseas
  • One in five (20%) say a cultural trip abroad is what they enjoy the most – and spend an average of $1,530 annually
  • 18% enjoy wellness holidays

Research found that almost half of those surveyed (46%) like to holiday at home, while 42% enjoy domestic short breaks and 41% enjoy exploring the cultural hot spots of other countries.

In fact, this topped the table of our favorite activities with one-fifth (20%) of people saying they most enjoyed a cultural trip abroad. This was reflected in spending, with people splashing out an average of $1,530 (£1,200) a year on getting away from it all. This was more than any other activity and almost double what they spend on luxury items, which rung up an average of $810 (£639).

Wellness holidays abroad fared well, with almost a fifth (18%) of people surveyed saying they enjoy this kind of break – with Russians and Saudi Arabians particularly enjoying them at 33% and 38% respectively.

Sharing experiences

  • Eating out was the most popular activity globally (59%)
  • 49% enjoy trips to the cinema
  • 22% enjoy health and beauty services (massages, manicures etc.)

However, holidays are not the only experiences we enjoy. More than a fifth of respondents (22%) like to indulge in health and beauty services like massages and manicures while half of people said they like going to the cinema (49%). And at the top of the table, 59% of people surveyed in nine countries across the world said they enjoy going out for a meal.

The results suggest that a shared social experience is key to people’s enjoyment. The way we use social media also adds to the perception of value of an experience. For example, travel for leisure and a trip to the cinema are the activities we’re most likely to post about on social media (31% and 27% respectively) compared to more solitary activities like a fitness session at the gym (11%) or buying a new luxury purchase (11%).

And when asked what they’d spend a £250 cash gift on, almost a quarter of people (23%) would put it towards a trip away and 13% globally would pay for a special meal with friends and family – in fact, this was the most popular answer in South Korea (24%).

Age really is just a number

  • 18-24s and over 55s value a trip abroad almost equally
  • 35-44s enjoy city breaks abroad the most (29%) closely followed by 18-24s (25%)
  • Solo travel abroad is popular with one-fifth of people surveyed aged 35-44 and 18-24

Priority Pass’s research found that holidays in particular, are valued by all age groups. For example, 36% of 18-24-year olds say holidaying abroad is their favorite thing to do, with over 55s matching them (36%).

Priority Pass’s research found that holidays in particular, are valued by all age groups. For example, 36% of 18-24-year olds say holidaying abroad is their favorite thing to do, with over 55s matching them (36%).

Christopher Evans said: “The statistics show that experience is definitely king. This research tells us just how highly people value different experiences, especially those that can be shared. Priority Pass is proud to offer more than 1,500+ airport experiences that help people get even more enjoyment from their time in departure halls, whether traveling for business or leisure.

“Consumer behavior is changing. Those companies that are able to offer products and services which respond to the growing investment in the Currency of Experience, will reap the rewards when it comes to customer loyalty.”