Domestic ''Insperiences'' Are on the Rise

What do you get when you cross inspiration and experiences? Insperiences--one of the hottest new marketing trends. For the past few years we have seen a consumer society dominated by experiences. In fact, a recent Unity Marketing survey found that consumers' spending on experiences nearly doubled in 2005. What's new, however, is that experiences, which have been traditionally viewed as unique and fulfilling activities in which individuals participate outside the home, are now being brought into the domestic environment. The younger generation--whether called Twixters, Millennials, Generation C, Gamers--is fueling this trend. This generation wants to create and exercise its own control, or as trendwatching.com points out, to be "masters of their youniverse." They are doing this by bringing experiences into their highly connected, entertainment-focused homes. In-home movie, sports, and interactive gaming experiences are becoming increasingly popular. But insperiences are not just for the young, tech-savvy crowd. Baby Boomers--the ones with the real money--are taking this trend to the next level and giving it staying power. Boomers are turning 60, and they have already acquired the material trappings of luxury. They want to spend their discretionary income on things that spark their emotions, things that give them a thrill. In fact, Unity Marketing's research found that most discretionary income is spent on experiences--travel, dining, entertainment, sporting events, spas, et cetera--because this is what gives luxury consumers the biggest thrill. Instead of downsizing, many Boomers are converting vacant rooms into premium, experiential spaces like home theaters, exercise rooms, and game rooms. In fact:
  • Industry experts believe one out of every four households now has some kind of home theater. And, according to the National Association of Home Builders' "Housing 2004: Facts, Figures, and Trends," media rooms and home theaters are counted among the luxuries 20 percent of respondents would someday like to have.
  • The National Sporting Goods Association reports that consumers spend some $4.7 billion on home exercise equipment. Another sign of the insperience trend is the growth of in-home retreats. Whether feeling stressed out from a tech-filled culture that keeps people plugged in 24/7/365, or seeking comfort and security post-September 11, 2001, people are looking for ways to soothe the psyche, promote togetherness, and build sanity into their everyday lives. They are finding these qualities in what Dawn Ritchie calls the emotional house. In a recent article Ritchie wrote, "Everyone is stressed and needs a place to escape and regroup." Toll Brothers, the luxury homebuilder, is responding to this need by offering new homes complete with "calming rooms" designed for meditation, yoga, or massage. Those not looking to build a new house are turning underused space into personal specialty rooms like wine cellars and tasting rooms, meditation and yoga rooms, and in-home spas. The insperiences most requested by our clients speak directly to these converging trends. These include:
  • In-home pilates and yoga instruction
  • Cooking demonstrations or lessons by a professional chef
  • A wine-tasting evening for friends led by a sommelier
  • An in-home personal chef who prepares a week's worth of gourmet meals
  • An in-home private massage
  • Closet consultations or wardrobe evaluations with a personal shopper
  • Personal organizing sessions for home, office, or garage
  • A personal in-home feng shui consultation
  • In-home movie parties and screenings When all is said and done, consumers' homes are their castles--castles they want to use and enjoy. As a result, while experiences are still hot, more and more people are bringing insperiences into their domestic domain--and I expect this growth in insperiences to continue. About the Author Janet Kraus is the CEO and cofounder of Circles, a leading provider of concierge, events, and experiential marketing services. Please visit www.circles.com
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