Give the gift of experience this Christmas

Give the gift of experience this Christmas
When Santa Claus comes shimmying down Swedish chimneys this year he will arrive bearing a sack laden with experiences, the Swedish Retail Institute is predicting.

For the twentieth consecutive year, the institute has published its prediction for the gift most likely to make stockings bulge this Christmas, along with a more general prognosis for the volume of this year’s Christmas shopping.

The Swedish concept of an “experience industry” roughly equates to the products offered by the creative and culture industries, and includes everything from theatre visits to computer games.

2007 saw a manifold increase of sales in the creative and cultural spheres, a development that has continued into 2008, the institute said in a statement.

“The idea of experiences in a box accurately reflects the times we live in, where consumers to an ever increasing extent seek products that help make their leisure time more fulfilling,” said the institute.

Despite the economic slowdown, the institute is expecting Christmas retails sales to smash the 60 billion kronor barrier, with sales predicted to reach 61 billion kronor.

This would represent a modest 2.5 percent increase on last year, a sure sign that retail sales have tailed off somewhat after several years of exceptional growth, said the institute.