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There’s been a change. You may not have realised, but experts believe we’ve entered the time of ‘peak stuff’ in the West. People have got so much stuff that they have reached a plateau when it comes to spending on physical goods.

Instead, more money is going on experiences whether that’s food, holidays or travel, the pubs or theatre for example. Here are just a few statistics pulled out from a beautifully written Guardian article on the experience economy and peak stuff (which you can read here in full):

  • Spending on restaurants up 16% in April
  • Meanwhile, a 13% rise for theatres and cinemas
  • Department stores a 1% drop
  • Vehicle sales down 11%
  • A 2.5% fall in spending on household appliances.

If you think about it, communications particularly within the advertising and marketing sphere has traditionally been about shifting units - often on their price and intrinsic value. However, when Ikea says we’ve hit the period of ‘peak stuff’ in the West, the ‘experience economy’ gives you pause for thought when it comes to communications.

Think about your grocery shopping. You’re doing so much more than just buying food to eat, you’re buying into an experience. There’s the Food Loves Stories from Tesco and its central theme that ‘Behind every meal we love is a story’ be that Lucy’s ‘Dad’s favourite’ pesto pork. Mum’s ‘signature’ Eid Chana Masala or Birdie’s ‘everybody welcome’ jerk chicken, it’s about joining and sharing an experience.

What about the ‘We Love Maple’ YouTube video inviting you to share the experience of eight strangers and one secret ingredient? As a communications agency, Liquid works with the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers on the We Love Maple campaign – it’s all about sharing the benefits of maple syrup and people’s experience of it.

How about the #Spiritofsharing event showcasing the best of Irish food and drink where bloggers, journalists and other invited guests shared in that experience at a special reception at the Irish embassy in London. Working with the Irish food board, Bord Bia, that experience was also shared on social media.

We even have our own chef, David Colcombe, who works with our food and drinks clients, because you need rich content for the press and social media.

Rather than what you’ve got, it’s about what you’ve experienced or shared experience with others or want to experience. In a recent Drum article, Pepsi’s chief design officer was quoted as saying: ‘They don’t actually buy products any more. They buy experiences that are meaningful to them.’

So, here’s to sharing more of those experiences!

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