Deliver the Power of Experiences

By Cassandra @ Setmore

Writer, editor and scheduling product expert at Setmore Appointments.

 “You may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting.
It is not logical, but it is often true.” – Spock, son of Sarek

What Spock means is that the experience of anticipation is often better than ownership. And why shouldn’t it? Owning something can be a burden. Your smartphone may be amazing now, but in 12 months it will be obsolete, provided it doesn’t break first.

Increasingly, consumers are wising up to this paradox. 78% of young spenders are investing their money in experiences, from a vacation abroad to concerts and movie tickets, rather than material goods like a big-screen TV.

We think this is great news for Setmore users everywhere.

Leonard Nimoy as Spock, son of Sarek, circa 1967.

Live long and prosper. (Public domain image.)

The Psychology of Experience

Since 2003, psychologist Thomas Gilovich has been measuring the emotional impact of buying experiences vs. things, and it’s no surprise that your brain has profoundly different reactions to each. One key takeaway is that waiting for an experience gives a sense of thrill, e.g. it’s difficult to sleep the night before a big vacation. Conversely, waiting for new stuff makes us impatient. You might think, what’s holding up that Amazon delivery?

The Emotions of Experience

  • Anticipation leading up to the event
  • Enrichment: memories become integral to sense of self
  • Connection, sharing and bonding with others

The Emotions of Consumption

  • Impatience leading up to the purchase
  • Immediate gratification fades over time
  • Isolating, used to confer social status

The Materialism Blues

Stuff also suffers from diminishing value, meaning the excitement we feel after a new purchase quickly fades and has little impact on our day-to-day well-being. We also tend to look at what we own and how it differentiates us from our neighbors. A sportier car, a bigger TV—these things are more frequently a source of jealousy or coveting rather than bonding.

Graphic depicts how consumers are more satisfied buying experiences than material goods.

 Buyers recognize the value of experiences after having them. (Source:

Even Bad Experiences Make Good Stories

Not only do people rate their happiness higher after having an experience, they also rate the experience as having higher monetary value vs. a comparable material purchase. Experiences continue to pay off after they happen, because we get to share our memories of the experience with others. Being able to tell a story about that concert you attended gives its own form of satisfaction. Even if something goes awry, say there’s an unexpected thunderstorm, it makes the story more interesting.

Do What You Do Best

While consumers increasingly desire experiences, we envision Setmore as a tool to help you deliver those experiences. Whether it’s a haircut, a massage, a business consultation, a tattoo, an emergency repair—and the underlying feelings that these things bring: self-confidence, relaxation, business savvy, artistic identity, and peace of mind.

In the grand scheme of things, these matter to our happiness and well being more than any smartphone ever could.

– The Setmore Team

What makes you happier, experiences or things? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • I enjoyed the article. It really summed up nicely, and gave examples, of life enrichment through experience. What better way to learn and see life:)

  • Experience is everything!

    We have built our small studio by ALWAYS PUTTING THE CLIENT FIRST!

    You may think that this would be difficult when you have no employees and all of the trainers are self-employed contractors…but we have overcome this hurdle.

    By providing a clean, professional environment…and always stressing our client focus…we have been able to pass this mantra and enthusiasm on to everyone. The trainers know that everything I do is about them (my client) and their clients. When they ask me a question…I usually preface my response with “What is best for the client?” Just this response typically results in the formation of a positive and experientially focused reply.

    Things…pass through our lives fleetingly.

    Experiences…both positive and negative are stored, to be replayed, relived re-experienced and shared for multiple lifetimes.

  • Well said. Thanks for the effort in this post and for sharing it!

  • Experiences definitely make me Happier than THINGS

    I was married in the past & we made millions
    My husband was “never satisfied” & caused our division

    You can only buy so much..
    Then you are left empty & wanting more & MORE “things”

    Bob Marley said “money is a number; numbers never if money” (things) “makes you happy, you will never be satisfied”

    After my divorce i decided to go “back to basics”

    Enjoy vacations enjoying the tropical beaches & living a simple life

    EXPERIENCES are what makes life grand!!
    Not a quest for MORE…

  • well put and timed message. I like it and will use it.