‘Nownership’ — what is it and why travel agents should be happy about it!

‘Nownership’ — what is it and why travel agents should be happy about it!


It is expected that by next year, the combined spending power of Millennials (generally defined as people who were born between the years 1981 and 1996 — i.e. 23 to 38 years old) will represent a combined spending power of $1.4 Trillion. That’s a very big number indeed (see accompanying graphic to this week’s blog for visualisation!

One of the definitions of ‘Nownership’ that you’ll find online is ‘the act or state of not owning anything’ and its origins can be traced back to the immediate aftermath of the global economic crash that happened in 2008 when a lot of people around the world and in particular in the highly capitalistic US lost everything — including their homes. This economic Armageddon made a huge impression on the children of people (primarily ‘baby boomers’) who were most impacted by the downturn with the result that many of them vowed that they would never allow themselves to be caught in a similar situation of vulnerability to that of their parents. It also happened to coincide with the increasing difficulty that people were having in raising finance to get mortgages — particularly in places experiencing rocketing rental costs such as the San Francisco area. This confluence of events manifested itself in two seemingly unrelated trends: The growth of the ‘tiny house’ movement and the re calibration of expectations that had prior to this point, been generally referred to as the ‘American Dream’.

Fast forward to today and you’ll find that the average Millennial is more preoccupied with the notion of ‘experiences’ rather than ‘things’. Indeed, in a recent poll, a whopping 74% of Americans stated that they prioritized experiences over products. It’s also no longer a peculiarly American phenomenon either. As recently as last week, a poll of almost 2,000 holidaymakers in the UK conducted by Holiday Hypermarket revealed that 88% of those asked, believe that a holiday abroad with a loved one ‘would bring them the most genuine happiness in comparison to material goods such as a new car or mobile phone’.

The increasing popularity of experiential travel in recent years — in Ireland as well as abroad — would appear to validate these findings too! All good news for travel agents then as this kind of travel is not exactly the kind of travel arrangement that can be easily booked online as it has not become commoditised like hotel rooms, car hire or low-cost flights.

There is a great saying that we in Travelbug have used in our own marketing activities in the past which states that ‘Travel is the only thing that you buy that makes you richer’. Some clever clogs will now have to try and concoct a witty saying that somehow incorporates the word ‘Nownership’ in it as I suspect we’re going to start hearing it more and more often from now on!

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