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What makes a great ‘insperience’?

Mon Jul 06 06:00:00 EDT 2020

Many shops may be open, but new research from Barclaycard reveals that the age of ‘insperience’ has only just begun… Faced with the need to pivot their business models during lockdown, businesses have accelerated digitalisation and gone the extra mile to create a cosy, new area of their business - the customer’s living room.

Prior to lockdown, ‘going out’ was in. As Barclaycard research from 2018 revealed, more than half of consumers (52%) would rather spend money on entertainment and events than material items. In response, businesses from festivals and escape rooms to stores and e-commerce sites stepped up their game to provide customers with unique experiences, and Barclaycard reported extensively on the experience economy. Then coronavirus happened…

Over the past few months, people have instead been finding new ways to have fun at home – creating great ‘insperiences’. As a result, many businesses have been prompted to pivot their business models, coming up with new ways to bring new and exciting experiences to the home. New research from Barclaycard has found that a third of UK retailers have launched new ‘in-home’ products or services since March.

Dubbed the ‘insperience economy’, the trend has increased sales for 88 per cent of businesses who have launched one, with its value predicted to reach £168m in the next year.

The start of July marks a new start for some businesses across a number of different sectors. Announced on 22 June, the UK government’s proposed plan for the gradual relaxing of lockdown restrictions [in England] see a variety of businesses across the hospitality and leisure sector join those in the retail sector in beginning to serve their customers again. As we move forward, there’s no doubt that many of us are looking forward to getting out again, whether that means a family visit or a simple meal out with friends. But despite these newly-relaxed measures, it’s worth pointing out that the UK has fallen in love with doing things at home – and our demand for in-home experiences shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The research shows over a third of consumers (35%) will continue investing in insperiences such as virtual wine tastings, home workouts and remote styling sessions, even as retailers reopen.

Why do people love insperiences?

Insperiences are the new consumer trend of 2020; nearly two-thirds of customers (63%) have tried one or plan to do so. The top reasons cited from Barclaycard research were that insperiences are fun (27%), novel (26%), and great for helping customers manage their time more efficiently (31%).

A great example of their popularity, over a quarter of respondents (28%) said they would continue to have digital drinks at home once lockdown ends. Perhaps logically, 39 per cent said they would continue to work out at home even after gyms reopen. Having become used to a new way of socialising and having fun, people are likely to continue enjoying insperiences long after lockdown…

Why do businesses love insperiences?

… and many UK businesses will be fully on-board. Having invested in this area during lockdown, the opportunity to provide hyper-personalised products for customers (71%) and recreate the spontaneity (67%) of the high street at home were seen as key benefits of ‘insperiences’ by retailers. These benefits have since been passed onto the UK workforce; 43 per cent of retailers have been able to reinstate furloughed staff as a direct result of the ‘insperience’ economy. Other benefits for business and the industry include:

  • Increased brand awareness (75%)
  • Create a new point of contact with customers (73%)
  • Establishing themselves as trusted partners in their sector (70%)

What makes a great insperience?

We’re seeing businesses big and small see real success during this period. The key is making it novel, personalised and convenient. This includes being able to take payments online in a fast, secure and seamless way.

Kirsty Morris, Managing Director for Account Development at Barclaycard Payments, said: “Over the past few months we’ve helped many of our merchant customers transition to take advantage of the insperience economy by setting them up to start taking online payments, which is testament to their agility as they’ve adapted to the ‘new normal’. 

With minimal planning and the reassurance that they are safe at home, customers embracing insperiences and are looking for businesses to make their experience as slick and seamless as possible.

Consumer figures are taken from a survey conducted in 1st-3rd June 2020 by Opinium on behalf of Barclaycard Payments, of over 2,000 UK nationally representative adults in the UK,

Retailer figures are taken from a survey conducted in 27th of May - 2nd of June 2020 by Opinium on behalf of Barclaycard Payments, of over 400 senior decision-makers (director level and above) in retail businesses.