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Why gifting unique experiences can bring everyone more joy

Posted at 11:54 AM, Dec 23, 2022

DENVER, Colo. — Even if you’re feeling the pinch of inflation, chances are you’ve still purchased at least one or two gifts this holiday season. Overall, most of us are spending the same amount of money this year as we did last year, but more people are opting to buy an experience for a loved one over a material gift.

“We bought a lot of things during the pandemic. We're running out of space for things, and we didn't get the chance to go out and do things,” said Eric Meyer.

Experiencing the open road is all Meyer is hoping for this Christmas. He’s an avid motorcycle rider but doesn’t currently own a bike, so he joined the motorcycle subscription service, Club EagleRider.

“You smell things. You see things. You hear things that you just don't see when you're in a car, and there is a feeling of freedom that I think we all need after being cooped up for two years,” said Meyer.

For $29 per month, Meyer can pick up a motorcycle in cities across the United States and around the world. It’s an experience he’s hoping to gift to his friends.

“I have a number of buddies who I'm trying to pull in, and so I’m trying to plan a boy's trip this summer,” said Meyer.

“Our brand is all about creating memorable experiences. It is a freedom for people,” said Shawn Fechter, the vice president of Brand Experience for EagleRider Rentals and Tours. Fecther said the company offers experiences for everyone from beginners to lifelong riders.

“Aside from rentals, we also offer what's called self-guided tours,” said Fechter. “We'll build you the itinerary. We'll book you motorcycle-friendly hotels. We'll put everything on our EagleRider mobile tour guide app that has all of your hotel vouchers and thousands of points of interest along the way.”

This desire to get out and go is something shoppers across the country feel too. Research from Deloitte found consumer spending on experiences is up 7% this year while spending on material gifts is up less than 1%.

Vanderbilt professor Kelly Goldsmith said an experience helps us share memories, with more than just those present in the moment.

“Experiences actually give consumers more joy in the long run than just your average material purchase. There's also the like social sharing online sharing component that we get with an experience. If we take a vacation and we post pictures of our vacation, it's almost like we're sharing it with our broader social network,” said Goldsmith.

Goldsmith expects this trend to continue year after year.

“The younger generations like millennials and below, they want to own less, and that could be for a lot of reasons, like they move more. They switch jobs more, and I think for that reason, carrying around this burden of our stuff is less attractive to consumers than it's ever been in the past,” said Goldsmith.

If you need some help to think outside the material gift box, but don’t want to shell out the money for pricey concert tickets or a play, gift an experience like one month of a food, music or tv subscription service or a wine tasting, cooking or art class.

But, Goldsmith reminds us, experiences can also be free.

“Going for a walk with your loved one is an experience, giving your mom an ‘IOU ten hugs’ card is an experience that you're giving her," she said.

The point: giving an experience recognizes your loved one’s identity, and feeling seen improves our social relationships long term.

So, whether you want to give someone the chance to feel the wind in their hair or plan a picnic, it’s a plan for the future that makes the most meaningful present.

For more information on EagleRider Rentals and Tours, click HERE.