Brits to gift 'experiences' over material gifts this Christmas

SIX in 10 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% 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 10 admitted the phrase "When this is all over…" has become part of their everyday conversations since the pandemic began.

Another four in 10 reckon they start at least one sentence with it every week, while a fed up 13% say it every day.

Things to look out for when buying a voucher

SHOPPERS can sometimes save cash by buying a voucher that can be redeemed at certain retailers.

But there are a few things you should look out for before parting with your cash or you could end up out of pocket.

  • Check for an expiry date. If you can't claim the voucher before it runs out then it wouldn't be worth buying it. You may be able to extend it but retailers often charge a fee to do this, which will cancel out some of your savings.
  • Shop around to make sure the offer really is as good as it sounds and you can't buy it cheaper elsewhere.
  • Look out for any extra costs in the small print. Often, you'll have to fork out more for delivery, which will eat into your savings.
  • Check for any terms and conditions that may mean you aren't able to redeem it, such as that it's only allowed to be used on certain days of the week.
  • Spend the voucher sooner rather than later. If a company goes bust, you'll be added to a long list of creditors who are owed cash,
  • Make sure to keep it safe. If you're not planning on spending it for a while, be sure not to lose it or it could end up being a waste of money.

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

The study also found 41% feel trips away are important to them, with 30% daydreaming about things like holidays long before they even book them.

Almost six in 10 (57%) 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%) and weekend breaks (26%) 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% 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.”

MoneySavingExpert Martin Lewis has warned shoppers not to give gift cards as presents this Christmas.

Shoppers lost almost £100million in unused vouchers as stores closed during coronavirus lockdown, according to Which? research.

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