The Mission of the Generation that Buys Experiences Instead of Products

Updated: Jun 3, 2021

By Juan Camilo Moreno | Lawyer | Colombia

The insatiable quest of the human being has been to find “happiness”. Some generations believed it could be found in the mythological and religious devotion; while other generations considered it was related to love, like the Provençal Poets who in the XII century nailed it down with the concept of fin’amors.

With the Industrial Revolution and the advent of mass production, society began to search happiness in consumption. For the first time in history, a greater number of people gained access to the goods once reserved for a minority.

The concept of happiness based in the acquisition of goods has reproduced a consumerist society that remains until today. Nonetheless, with generational changes new lifestyles arrived, modifying the paradigm of happiness.

As a result, we see a generation more interested in obtaining experiences than in the acquisition of products.

However, to what extent has this behavioral change helped us to materialize happiness? At the end, we are still consumers; we simply morphed our desire for things to a desire for experiences.

Today, marketing campaigns sell experiences instead of products. We see how restaurants are no longer places selling food, but sites offering an “experience for the taste”; or how vehicles, from being means of transportation, are now an “experience of comfort”; and places, countries, and cultures become “life experiences”.

The industry understood that new generations are not as interested in products than in experiences. Such situation made them revalue their marketing strategies, making us believe that we buy an experience, when in reality we get one more product. This incommensurate consumerism has had environmental, social, and economic consequences. The new generations can no longer afford to reproduce such behavior.

Perhaps we do not know exactly what the mission of the new generations is, but like other generations, it probably is to seek happiness. However, we cannot repeat the same formulas. We cannot consider that through consumption, not of products but of experiences, we will find happiness.

As we learned from previous generations, when they got what they wanted, they craved for more goods and experiences, nurturing an insatiable desire. Maybe the Provençal Poets, with their concept of “love”, were close enough to happiness. Even if this “love” is hidden in the desire for external factors like things, experiences, or people.

But is perhaps “love”, not understood as the feeling towards a person who will love us back, but as the uninterested love towards people and the world, the one that signals our mission.

Just then we will understand that it is useless to obtain what we want when this affects others with whom we have something in common: we are all either victims or privileged of this event we call “life”.


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#society #consumption #happiness #culture #genz #experiences

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