Kevin Eagan - Apr 22, 2024
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A recent study from Mastercard has revealed a delightful trend among Germans. 82% of respondents in Germany are planning to invest as much, if not more, on experiences this year as in 2023. This shift is about spending and the joy and fulfillment it brings.

The study also found that the desire to travel is still strong, with 46% of those surveyed expressing their wish to travel more this year compared to last year. In addition, 26% of respondents are eager to embark on more family trips, such as visiting amusement parks. Outdoor activities like hiking and cycling are also popular with around 23% of Germans. Other trending experiences include culinary experiences like restaurant visits, cooking courses, wine tastings, live concerts, and wellness breaks, with each of these activities being favored by 21% of respondents.

According to the study, almost one in three people (29%) prefers spending on experiences over material goods. For 27% of Germans, products and experiences hold equal importance. Meanwhile, 39% of respondents prioritize material goods over experiences.

Data from the Mastercard Economic Institute evidences the trend towards spending on experiences over material things: The share of spending on experiences such as travel or dining out across Europe increased from 19% in 2019 to 22% in 2023. In comparison, the share of spending on material goods remained stable.

Consumers in Germany have faced tough decisions in recent years regarding prioritizing their spending. However, the desire for positive experiences remains strong. As inflation falls and price pressure gradually eases, consumer purchasing power is expected to rise, leading to increased spending on experiences. The demand for special events, like major sporting competitions, music tours, and other significant events, is still high. Twenty-three percent of Germans prioritize saving for experiences in their general financial planning. The main reason highlighted is the intangible benefits that experiences provide. Seventy percent of respondents believe spending on experiences is worthwhile, with 32 percent stating that experiences offer an opportunity for self-realization.

When planning leisure activities, family-friendliness (48 percent) is not just a desirable option but a deeply ingrained value for Germans. They prioritize leisure activities that enable parents and children to enjoy time together, reflecting their strong family values. Other important selection criteria for Germans are:

  • The location (43 percent).
  • The travel options (41 percent).
  • The personal feel-good factor (38 percent) and an authentic culture (38 percent).

Interestingly, 28 percent of the respondents said that experiences were the best way to create unforgettable experiences that stay with them for a lifetime. To remember these experiences for as long as possible, 55 percent of the participants attached great importance to photos and memorabilia, such as merchandise items (28 percent), during the events. Surprisingly, one in five people canceled their ticket.

In addition, 42 percent associated their remarkable experiences with personal anecdotes that remained in their memory—around a quarter of the respondents (24 percent) stated that their view of the world had changed due to their experiences. Furthermore, 29 percent find shared experiences with other people more enriching than activities alone, whether exploring a new travel destination, participating in a cultural event, or simply eating together.

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