Canadians value experiences over money, possessions: study

In this Aug. 30, 2016 photo, Mike Eckel hikes above a lake along the Beaten Path, a 26-mile hiking trail that crosses through Montana’s Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. (Ben Yeomans via AP)

It’s not only millennials who value experiences over money and possessions, according to a new study.

A global survey by market researcher GfK found that 49 per cent of Canadians say life experiences are “more important” than personal property.

A further 23 per cent indicated that would rather have more time instead of more money, with just 10 per cent saying they would prefer the cash.


The survey interviewed more than 22,000 consumers over the age of 15 across 17 countries.

Overall, Canadians trailed only Mexicans, Argentinians and Americans in their preference for life experiences over possessions. Brazil tied with Canada for fourth among countries that were surveyed.


Perhaps surprisingly, the highest support for experience over materialism was expressed among Canadians between the ages of 50 and 59 (57 per cent), followed by those aged 15 to 19 (54 per cent) and 40 to 49 (50 per cent).

The least support came from participants over the age of over the age of 60 (43 per cent).

Contrary to a litany of past research, millennials were not found to be substantially less materialistic than past generations.

Just 49 per cent and 47 per of Canadians between 20 to 29 and 30 to 39, respectively, articulated their preference for experience over possessions.