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Alistair Owen pours most of his paycheck into what he calls a travel-and-lifestyle fund.

Im not saving up to buy anything, said the 28-year-old engineer, who shares a rented
apartment with two flatmates in south London. I prefer to go out for dinner at a nice place,
pay a round at the pub or explore a new area of the world. I feel like I would be losing out on
living if I chose to own stuff instead.
The stock market is starting to reflect his priorities and those of his generation -the millennials, those born between 1980 and 2000. Leisure and travel-related stocks,
including pubs, airlines and pizza restaurants, have trumped retailers since consumer
confidence picked up following the financial crisis. For U.S. and European indexes tracking
the industries, the outperformance just reached the highest since at least 2011.
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Experiences help millennials shape their identity and create memories, to a greater degree
than for older generations, said Sarbjit Nahal, head of thematic investing at Bank of
America Corp. in London. Youll want to look at companies focused on live sporting events,
festivals, online gaming, the sharing economy, travel and even music streaming -- all of
these are experiences that millennials can share with their friends.
What little evidence -- its largely anecdotal -- there is, it tends to back up the arm-chair
psychology. A survey by market-research firm Harris Poll and Eventbrite Inc., an online
marketplace for ticket sales, showed 78 percent of millennials would rather pay for an
experience than material goods. That compares with 59 percent for baby boomers. Some
82 percent of millennials said they went to a live event in the past year -- concerts and
festivals -- and 72 percent said they plan to increase spending on such outings.
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Andrew Oswald, an economics professor at Britains University of Warwick in Coventry, says
todays young consumers feel like they own enough already. With their material desires
almost completely exhausted, millennials need alternative roads to satisfaction, he says,
referring to research by Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University.

Its now experiences that people are short on, not items, says Oswald, whose research
focuses on what he calls the economics of happiness.
Underscoring his point, merchants arent reaping the benefits of all the extra cash that
consumers were meant to funnel their way from lower fuel costs. The latest retail sales data
missed projections in the U.K., U.S., and in the euro area. U.S. chains ranging from Macys
Inc. to Best Buy Co. reported slowing holiday sales.
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In contrast, sales at companies like pub operator Greene King Plc have been strong. Lowcost airlines Ryanair Holdings Plc and EasyJet Plc have soared almost sevenfold since their
crisis-era lows. Ski operator Vail Resorts Inc. is up more than 700 percent since the U.S.
market bottomed in 2009. Airbnb Inc.s $25.5 billion valuation is more than Macys and Best
Buys combined. Investors will be soon be able to buy an exchange-traded fund focused on
millennials, which will include companies involved in social media, e-commerce, mobile
technology, healthy lifestyles, travel, leisure and the sharing economy, according to its Dec.
11 prospectus.
A sacrifice for all this fun: savings. With incomes shrinking, only 34 percent of millennials
worldwide said they saved enough money each month, according to Nielsens 2015 Global
Generational Lifestyles survey. Theyre also not that interested in allocating funds to acquire
the totems of their parents. Buying a car was a top priority for only 15 percent of millennials
in a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. survey cited in a 2015 report. The number was the same for
purchasing a television, and just 10 percent for a luxury bag.
Even with some cash from selling the flat shed bought with her now ex-husband, the last
thing on Selina Mathewss mind was getting back on the property ladder. The 30-year-old
shares a London apartment with two friends and regularly dines out -- Nielsens data show
six-in-10 millennials go out to eat at least once a week, twice the percentage of baby
I dont put much of my monthly salary aside at all, said Mathews, who works on the trading
floor at an American investment bank. Its bonus time, and shes planning trips to the
Philippines and Japan. Id rather rent a really nice room, explore the world, have some fun
with my friends and enjoy my life rather than own a bunch of things. Theres an element of
freedom in that.

Jack Huang, a Californian in London, is building his business on that outlook. The 35-yearold founded the website Truly Experiences in 2012, when he couldnt find a suitable
wedding gift for a food-loving business school friend. The company sells everything from
$71 whisky tastings to a half-million-dollar trip to the edge of the Earths atmosphere.
People want to buy happiness, Huang said at a London cafe in January. An experience is
unique because it gives them that in three stages: the anticipation, the event itself, and the
memories after. Not only does that final stage last forever, but you can also share it.
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