What do consumers value more – experiences or stuff? Research and trends continue to show that people would rather spend money on memory-making experiences than on material things. Not only are experiences perceived as more valuable, but it’s been shown that experiences make people happier and they believe the money was better spent. We examine the shift in spending trends, why it’s happening and how the restaurant industry is benefitting.

The Spending Shift to Experiences

$12.3 trillion. Yes, trillion. That’s what Americans spend in total personal consumption each year. And this figure has nearly doubled since 2000, according to HSCS and the Bureau of Economic Analysis Data as reported in Fortune. But over the same 15-year period, discretionary spending (cars, household goods) has decreased. Some of that spending has shifted to experiential purchases, such as travel, recreation and eating out, which has steadily increased.

Although supply and demand, population growth and inflation contribute to these shifts, Americans (especially wealthier Americans) are willing to spend more on experiences. This aligns with a study by The Harris Group, which reported that the share of consumer spending on live experiences and events has increased 70% compared to total U.S. consumer spending since 1987.

Millennials and Social Media Are Setting the Spending-on-Experiences Trend

As Millennials are the largest generation by population and older generations tend to follow their lead, all eyes are on them when looking at trends. And when it comes to money, 78% of Millennials would rather spend money on an experience over buying a ‘thing.’ And 72% would like to increase their spending on experiences rather than on physical goods over the next year. Social media plays a large role in the ‘fear of missing out’ mindset as Millennials often broadcast their events and experiences on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

Consumer Spending at Restaurants

We know Americans love the experience of dining out and celebrating special occasions at restaurants. They spend more on dining out than groceries. More than half (52%) of consumers would rather spend money on an experience (such as dining at a restaurant or other activity), than making a physical purchase from a store. As a result, restaurant sales have been growing exponentially and are projected to total $863 billion in 2019.

Mintel’s 2018 American Lifestyle report confirms that dining out and entertaining are experiencing above-average growth with improved consumer spending. So much so that almost half of Americans choose to spend on dining out after paying bills and buying other necessities. Americans are even prioritizing discretionary spending over reducing debt.

BirthdayPak Brings Consumers the Ultimate Birthday Gifting Experience

It’s clear: Consumers enjoy experiences, even more than ‘stuff,’ and dining out is one of Americans’ favorite experiences. For restaurants and other experience-based businesses targeting their ideal customers, there’s BirthdayPak. BirthdayPak brings the ultimate birthday gifting experience right to their mailbox! A beautifully printed and personalized BirthdayPak contains up to 8 gift cards to local upscale businesses, including restaurants, salons, day spas and more. This print and digital marketing platform brings affluent customers to these businesses when celebrating their birthdays and other memorable events.

For more information about partnering with BirthdayPak, visit BirthdayPakGifting.com or call 844-845-6039. To learn about available BirthdayPak franchise markets, visit BirthdayPakFranchise.com or call 888-680-7554.