UK Millennials Drive Creation of an Experience Economy

UK Millennials Drive Creation of an Experience Economy

Recent reports have revealed that Chinese millennials are bucking the global trend of that age group by becoming increasingly prominent in worldwide l

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Recent reports have revealed that Chinese millennials are bucking the global trend of that age group by becoming increasingly prominent in worldwide luxury consumption. Asia Times has detailed how the average age of luxury consumers in China is 28 years old, ten years below the global average. Unlike Chinese millennials, though, their counterparts in the United Kingdom are far more inclined to invest in experiences than in luxurious products. This has helped to create an experience economy in which consumers place an emphasis on social activities rather than products.


Restaurants are one of the main beneficiaries of the shift into an experience economy, with The Caterer noting that the hospitality industry has regularly enjoyed productive months over the past few years. September 2018 was no different, with a 9.5% growth in restaurant turnover.

The Guardian have explored this change from “buying” to “doing”, acknowledging that 200 new restaurants opened in London in 2017. Venues that are not exclusively restaurants are also enjoying a boom, with the same source also noting how Chichester Festival Theatre welcomed a 12% boost in ticket sales in 2017 alongside a burgeoning restaurant. Consumers and millennials, in particular, are keen to travel to multi-purpose venues to maximise their time.


This is also true for the game of bingo, a game that is not traditionally linked with younger generations of adults but is experiencing a shift in demographics. The rebrand of Buzz Bingo is aiming to appeal to millennials through making the bingo hall experience about more than just a game of bingo. Buzz Bingo’s rebrand has seen a greater focus on food and drink options, with a seasonal menu providing sustenance for millennials who tend to prefer bingo sessions later in the day.

Special events for key dates like Christmas and Black Friday also help to attract a new crowd of bingo players. The Drum has reported how Buzz Bingo’s nationwide rebrand, with 103 clubs set to have undergone a redesign by the end of 2018, has been accompanied by an advertising focus on appealing to millennials. The buzzword (pun intended) appears to be “experience”, with the ability to play in groups catering for a generation placing equal emphasis on both the competitive and social sides of the game.


Festivals may be at the more deluxe end of the experience economy spectrum, although being knee-deep in the mud is still a world away from the emphasis on luxurious products in China. Barclays Smart Investor reported that there were approximately 1000 festivals in the UK in 2016, a figure six times as large as twelve years prior. That stark increase in festivals may have burst the bubble, with the Financial Times suggesting that the UK festival scene may have reached ‘saturation point’.

Yet, festivals are the perfect outlet for millennials seeking experiences. Posting photos on social media of a newly-purchased product are now widely considered a faux-pas in the UK, but posting photos of an experience shared with friends is more effective in what Katapult terms ‘competitive socialising’. Eventbrite uncovered that 75% of festival conversation in the US was driven by millennials, with Grazia suggesting that the UK festival scene is similarly driven by that generation.

Grazia also suggests that festivals are no longer exclusively about the music, in the same way, that bingo halls are not necessarily just for bingo and that restaurants often have to provide a variety of entertainment. These are consequences of UK millennials seeking experiences to be shared with friends, as opposed to purchasing luxury items in the manner of their Chinese counterparts.