Like many of us I try to live my best life. And one of the things that has really struck me recently is the all the research around experiences and happiness. There is a great article in the Atlantic, where the James Hamblin thoughtfully shares the research. The key takeaway from the science is that experiences not things lead to happiness. And that experiences thoughtfully planned and positively anticipated well in advance lead to maximum joy.
But are we really changing our habits to maximize for experiences rather than stuff? According to a Gallup poll Americans are spending more on "leisure activities and dining out". We are also rejecting retail spending on things like clothes and consumer electronics other than our beloved smartphones. And according to a Harris Poll commissioned by Eventbrite Millennials are leading the way. Apparently, 72% of us say we'll spend more on experiences rather than material goods in the coming year.
These stats make it feel like we are headed in the right direction. And maybe that's why my inbox and social media seem filled with so many ads trying to get me to buy stuff I don't want or need. It all seems to be just noise.
Instead I'd rather my online world was filled with more food, dog, and outdoor travel photos. That would be way more optimized to help plan for future adventures. And according to "science" lead to maximum happiness.
Maybe that's why we are seeing a shift to marketing with stories and content. I'd certainly rather engage with a compelling story over a coupon code any day.