Research from YouGov on behalf of Priority Pass™, the world’s original airport experiences program, has found that the trend for experiences over material goods is global. Surveying over 10,000 people from nine countries across all corners of the world, including 1000 from KSA, the data showed that we all overwhelmingly value spending time and money on shared experiences that enrich our lives with friends and family – which manifests most clearly in the form of holidays.
Saudi Arabia Currency of Experience Barometer
Here are the top ten activities people in Saudi Arabia value the most (from most valued to least valued):
1. Wellness and spa holidays abroad
2. Cultural holiday overseas
3. Solo travel abroad
4. Holidaying at home
5. Sporting holidays overseas
6. Overseas city breaks and weekends away
7. Buying luxury items
8. Go out for a meal
9. Overseas travel for business
10. Attending live events
Priyanka Lakhani, Regional Commercial Director, Middle East, Africa and India at Collinson, the operator of Priority Pass, said: “It’s no surprise that travel has topped the global leader board. Thanks to globalization, a drop in travel prices, and better online services, it’s never been easier for people to plan and book a trip. Where we’re now seeing the biggest shift amongst travellers, including in Saudi Arabia, is the demand for more personalized and customer-centric services as part of the travel experience, even before they’ve reached their destination. Whether that’s escaping the hustle and bustle in a luxury lounge, indulging in a sit-down meal in a great restaurant, or even just having their flight information in the palm of their hand via an app. We certainly find that people in the Middle East now expect extra touches on top of their travel experiences to make them even more enjoyable.”
Wellness holidays top the table in KSA
-38% enjoy wellness holidays, with 22% listing it as their favourite activity
-In fact, it was the most popular type of holiday in Saudi Arabia and a significant increase on the global average of 18%
-A cultural holiday overseas is the second favourite type of trip amongst Saudi respondents at 29%, again a significant increase compared to the 20% global average
-Third place at 22% were those who prefer to holiday at home, a significant difference when compare to the 46% global average
Wellness holidays abroad fared particularly well, with 38% of people surveyed saying they enjoy this kind of break – in fact Saudi Arabians came out on top globally when selecting this type of holiday, with Russians a close second at 33%. This came out top of all activities with 22% selecting it overall as the activity they enjoy doing the most. This was reflected in spending, with people splashing out an average of $1356 (5090 SAR) a year on investing in a wellness trip. In fact, when faced with a variety of 18 different pursuits, the highest ranking 5 that people would splash out on in KSA all relate to travel. The purchase of luxury items only ranked 7th in terms of the amount of money people would spend – with the average coming to $825 (3099 SAR).
-Eating out is popular in Saudi Arabia with 44% regularly going out for a meal (global average was 59%)
-15% enjoy health and beauty services (massages, manicures etc.) and 13% tend to enjoy a fitness session at the gym.
However, holidays are not the only experiences we enjoy. At the top of the table, 59% of people surveyed in nine countries across the world said they enjoy going out for a meal, this figure also featured highly in Saudi Arabia with 44%. Indulging in a pampering beauty service and fitting in a fitness session at the gym were popular with 15% and 13% respectively enjoying these activities.
The results suggest that a shared social experience can add to people’s enjoyment. The way we use social media also adds to the perception of value of an experience but the results differ across the globe. In Saudi Arabia in particular, although the sharing of a culinary experience on social media came out on top of things people tend to share online, with 31% regularly posting about food and drink that they have prepared themselves, from the research it is apparent that in KSA experiences are most enjoyed when shared with close friends and family.
This value placed on sharing experiences, in real time, with close friends/family was reflected when asked what they’d spend a $266 (1,000 SAR) cash gift on. Almost a quarter of people globally (23%) would put it towards a trip away but the top ranking answer (14%) in KSA was to spend it on a day out with the kids, in joint second (13%) were to buy a gift for a loved one and to put it towards a trip away. All of the top 5 answers in KSA were experiential with the appetite to put that money towards the more material things such as a luxury item and beauty services featuring with just 4% and 3% respectively.
Priyanka Lakhani added: “The statistics show that experience is definitely king. This research tells us just how highly people value different experiences, and it is really interesting to observe the variances country to country, especially the nature of how one decides to share their experiences.”
“Consumer behaviour is changing. Those companies that are able to offer products and services which respond to the growing investment in the Currency of Experience, will reap the rewards when it comes to customer loyalty.”