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Six in ten Brits intend to give ‘experiences’ instead of material gifts this year

Six in ten Brits intend to give ‘experiences’ instead of material gifts this year, as the pandemic makes them appreciate living in the moment.

Three quarters of 2,000 adults surveyed said they would get more of a kick out of an event or something to do rather than a physical item as people long for something to look forward to. As a result, 39 per cent believe experiences, such as weekends away or meals out, would make for better gifts this Christmas instead of ‘just things’.

It comes after the events of 2020 have left Brits feeling frustrated, annoyed and bored at not being able to plan ahead, and therefore looking to make up for lost time in 2021. And seven in ten admitted the phrase ‘When this is all over…‘ has become part of their everyday conversations since the pandemic began. Another four in ten reckon they start at least one sentence with it every week, while a fed up 13 per cent say it every day.

The research was commissioned by Accor to launch its new ALL gift card, after it teamed up with author and futurist James Wallman to reveal the true value of experiences.

James Wallman, said: “Right now, more than ever, we’re all in desperate need of a break. From home, from the monotony of life under lockdown, from the drip, drip, drip of ‘Will we or won’t we be set free from lockdown?’, from the up and down corona-coaster of worry and hope.

We all need something to look forward to – and anticipation is free happiness. This is one of the reasons experiences are so much better than stuff at making us happy – and, weirdly, why experience gifts are so much better value for money. Because when you give someone an experience gift you’re getting triple value out of it – the anticipation, the enjoyment of the experience itself and the memories it gives them. That’s why this year by giving the gift of travel or experience you’re giving something that’s actually very hard to put a price on – something to look forward to.”

It also emerged only 14 per cent were planning to give someone a gadget this Christmas, but two-fifths were considering paying for someone to have a weekend away. And two-thirds of those polled said they’d be thrilled to receive an experience as a Christmas gift, according to the OnePoll research.

Another 37 per cent even believe the anticipation in the lead up to enjoying the experience makes it feel like a bigger gift, while 67 per cent prefer it as the memory lasts far longer than a physical gift.

The study also found 41 per cent feel trips away are important to them, with 30 per cent daydreaming about things like holidays long before they even book them. Almost six in ten (57 per cent) adults even claimed to feeling ‘positively thrilled’ when booking a holiday, compared to only 18 per cent when buying a new smartphone. Holidays abroad (34 per cent) and weekend breaks (26 per cent) which have been booked in are also more likely to be posted about on social media than an expensive item.

The study also found more than one in five plan to have more holidays next year to make up for the lack of trips in 2020 as 72 per cent are feeling the need for a break.

Stephanie Jaffre from Accor, added: “This year more than ever, everyone needs a break and something good for ‘when this is all over’. So the best way to bring some hope and cheer this Christmas is to give people something to look forward to – as our research shows, the gift of anticipation is free joy.

The opportunity to give someone the gift of a weekend away, is potential to gift happy memories, relaxation, a change of scene and even the opportunity to explore somewhere entirely new. After this year I think we can all hope for that.”

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