Experiential vs. Material Consumers

The other day a few fellow Avantgarde workmates were having lunch, when conversation turned towards buying yourself into a motorsport rally, such as the Dakar Rally. While some marveled at the potential experiences gained at such an event, others tried hard but just couldn’t understand why you would spend so much money to sit in an uncomfortable car for weeks on end. It was a bit like Jordan Belfort, the “Wolf of Wall Street” who to this day is struggling to grasp why FBI Special Agent Gregory Coleman (called Kyle Chandler in the movie) would pursue a career of bringing down criminals instead of enjoying a purely hedonistic lifestyle.

Which brings us to the following question: Why do you buy what you buy? What type of consumer are you? Are you more interested in experiential purchases, meaning do you value purchasing life experiences more than purchasing material things? Interestingly, numerous studies show that spending money on life events and activities makes people happier than spending money on material items.

While I was researching this subject I came across the website beyondthepurchase.org, a fascinating research project on purchasing decisions and consumer types from the San Francisco State University. They compiled a short test where you can find out if you are an experiential buyer or a material buyer. Take the test and see how you rank as an experiential consumer (but don’t forget to register first)!

Photo: Paresh Gajria/Flickr CC