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Chris Borchetta, of Miami Beach, Fla., takes advantage of a sunny day as he lies on the beach, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, in Miami Beach, Fla. Temperatures are above average and in the mid-80's in South Florida as an arctic cold front moves from the Plains to the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, and towards the mid-Atlantic and Northeast by Thursday. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

71 percent of people don't want a physical gift. They want an experience.


71 percent of people don't want a physical gift. They want an experience.

WATCH|  With more consumers preferring experiences over stuff, more people are considering gifting things like trips over physical holiday gifts.

The holidays are right around the corner and chances are you're dreaming of an end-of-year getaway. 

And think how amazing it would be if you found a ticket to the beach in your stocking instead of the usual culprits (another patch of peppermint bark, an electric toothbrush, fuzzy socks). If you agreed, you're in the majority.

Consumers are increasingly favoring experiences like trips and races and wine tastings over physical goods.

giphy Bridesmaids.gif
giphy Bridesmaids.gif (Credit: Universal Pictures)

Some are actually ditching traditional holiday gifts and giving vacations and other experiential activities.

An American Express survey published this month revealed that 31 percent of people traveling during the holidays this year are doing so because they were gifted a trip. And, 71 percent of people surveyed said they'd rather unwrap the gift of travel than a physical item.

That number goes up when talking about millennials -- 74 percent would forgo stuff if they got a vacation instead. A little over two-thirds of people (37 percent) said they'd given a vacation as a gift to family member or friend before.

AmEx cited a "desire for shared experiences" and a "willingness to spend on activities and events" as one reason Americans were spending more on travel this holiday season. A separate survey by the National Retail Federation from 2015 found that more than half of millennials wanted to receive experiences as gifts and more than a third were going to gift one. 

"With retailers quickly getting in on this trend by offering their customers ‘bundles’ for the perfect experience, it really is a win-win for consumers and retailers," a Prosper analyst said.

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Not ready to cross off the smartwatch from your wish list? Well, researchers from the Booth School of Business and Cornell University found that getting experiences makes you more appreciative. Plus, it inspires you to pay it forward.

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