Here comes the science bit…

In case you had forgotten, we have always said that experiences make the best presents and now more research has been conducted to prove it!

Are you the type of person who likes to have a gift list of ideas for your loved ones, but each year it seems harder and harder to get the pen moving… brain freeze? One question… What to buy?

The thought of Christmas shopping may be off the radar as the temperatures soar and summer distracts us from wrapping up… both ourselves, from the winter chill, and of course presents in all shapes and sizes. However, Christmas is coming, and undoubtedly there may be a birthday gift or anniversary present you need to find between now and then too.

As a provider of luxury gift experiences we like to make people happy and did our own research last year. What we found was that even those who put thought and effort into choosing presents, sometimes got it wrong. In fact, 93% of respondents have received a gift they didn’t want.

To support our findings… Paul Ratner’s recent article on Big Think refers to a far more qualified source in the shape of psychology professor Thomas Gilovich from Cornell University; who has conducted numerous studies and has concluded that happiness is derived from experiences, not things.

So, how does that make you (the buyer) feel?

Was the car park rage, waiting in shopping till queues or staying in for the delivery man worth it? Not to mention the exchange, returns and refunds. It would be good to get it right more often than not, yes?

Thomas Gilovich’s study suggests “experience gifts” come out on top for happiness for a number of factors, but principally:

  • Experiential purchases enhance social relations more readily and effectively than material goods
  • Experiential purchases form a bigger part of a person’s identity
  • Experiential purchases are evaluated more on their own terms and evoke fewer social comparisons than material purchases.


Far from money buying happiness, our research for also found that gifting an experience brought the longest lasting pleasure to their recipients rather than an expensive possession.

  • 98% stated buying an experience was a better option for those “who had everything”
  • 74% had received a gift experience and 98% of these said the experience made them feel happy.
  • 71% would prefer a gift experience or a gift voucher to a material gift
  • 66% said they would buy a gift experience for someone.
  • For those who chose gift experiences and vouchers, they stated they wanted to give their loved ones an opportunity to do something new (73%), create special memories (65%) and it is nice to give something you can share with someone (74%).


So, when you are next thinking about what you to buy for that special person… rather than think about clothes, shoes or gadgets… maybe think about what you would like that person to experience.


Happy shopping!


What I Really Wanted ( offers a unique range of luxury hotel and resort gift voucher experiences throughout the UK.  With gifts available for every age and budget, experiences include overnight luxury hotel stays, spa days, golf breaks, fine dining experiences, afternoon teas and champagne afternoon teas.

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