Every holiday season, people spend countless hours shopping online or at a crowded mall trying to come up with the perfect gift for their family and friends. The good news for gift-givers (and receivers) is that the preference for experiences over material “things” has been growing in popularity — from “selfie museums” like 29Rooms and the Museum of Ice Cream to goat yoga sessions to sober morning dance parties like DAYBREAKER, people are looking for unique experiences to get out from behind their screens and create memories rather than own more stuff.

This year is no different with live experiences making the top of holiday wish lists. According to a recent survey* Eventbrite commissioned through Harris Poll, people want to both give and get experiences as gifts this holiday season. The findings revealed:

  • 63% of U.S. adults (ages 18 – 65+) would prefer to receive an experience gift than a material gift this holiday season and 50% of U.S. adults plan to give experience gifts this year
  • 59%  of U.S. adults believe that giving experience gifts is easier than shopping for material gifts
  • Over a third (36%) of U.S. adults want to attend more events/live experiences in 2019
  • 85% of U.S. adults agree that experience gifts are a great way for both the giver and receiver to enjoy something together; 93% of millennial women and 83% of millennial men (ages 18-34) agree with that sentiment

The results are indicative of a larger trend: In today’s digital world people are craving real-life connection more than ever, and prioritizing their spending on experiences over material things as a result. This shift is largely thanks to millennials; three out of four would rather spend their money on an experience than buy something desirable and this “experience generation” is now a third of the U.S. population.

Based on this latest survey, if you choose to gift an experience this holiday season (whether the recipient is a millennial or not), you likely won’t disappoint. Not sure where to start? Our team pulled together some ideas for the best experience gifts in a handful of cities across the country: San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Washington DCWith millions of events, Eventbrite is about finding ways to do more of what you (and your loved ones) love.


This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Eventbrite from November 19 – 21, 2018 among 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Irene Lee at irenel@eventbrite.com.