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Physical Christmas presents are being replaced by experiences as thrill-seeking Brits seek to get a buzz from the festive period, a study has found.

Researchers who polled 2,000 UK adults found experiences are becoming increasingly popular and are deemed to ‘mean more’ than something hurriedly plucked from a department store shelf.

Those who prefer the opportunity to get out and try something new are doing so to avoid getting ‘the same old thing’ every Christmas.

According to the study, experiences will take up around £1.6 billion of festive spends this year – thanks to treats such as comedy show tickets, concert tickets and ‘red letter day’ vouchers.

Commissioned by Barclaycard, the research also found one in five plan to buy an experience-based gift for a loved one this Yuletide.

Spokesman Daniel Mathieson said: “Brits are fed up with receiving stockings full of socks or the same customary cosmetics and chocolates year after year, we now expect more from our loved ones.

“Not only do we want presents that provide entertainment, we want to create long-lasting memories too, meaning for many, physical items no longer cut-it as Christmas gifts.”

The study also found Brits are planning on spending an average of £129 each on experience-based gifts, a rise of 115 per cent from a year ago.

Almost half of Christmas shoppers fear that friends and family will be given the same material gift twice, while 36 per cent worry that they will struggle to find the perfect present.

One in five gift-buyers believe making memories is the most important thing when picking a Christmas present, and 17 per cent want to make sure the recipient has something to look forward to.

It really is the thought that counts for Brits, as almost six in 10 feel the thoughtfulness of a present is the main factor to consider when gift-giving.

Twenty-five per cent feel sentimental value is also an important factor when receiving a present.

Nearly four in 10 millennials admitted the main reason for buying experiences with their parents was to enjoy quality time together.

A further 13 per cent also admit they consider whether a gift they’re purchasing for a loved one will create exciting content for their social media channels, with millennials aged 25-30 more conscious of this than any other age group.

Mathieson added: “The emotion and excitement of giving and receiving an experience is something money can’t buy, particularly when it comes to activities that can be shared.

“What’s truly heart-warming though, is that people want to spend more time with their friends and family and are choosing presents they can enjoyed together while also providing something to look forward once the festive season is over.”

* The research was commissioned by Barclaycard to mark its entertainment partnership with Live Nation which offers exclusive 2019 festival pre-sales with 10 per cent back at the checkout for each and every pre-sale ticket bought through Barclaycard Entertainment.


1. Theatre / comedy tickets
2. Spa / beauty treatments
3. Concert tickets
4. Meals out & culinary courses
5. Red letter day vouchers
6. Tourist attractions
7. Sporting event tickets e.g. rugby/football match
8. Adventure trips e.g. skydiving, rock climbing
9. Cultural experiences, e.g. art gallery
10. Historical experiences, e.g. visiting National Trust sites

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