Bourne End, UK – March 2nd 2021: Leading UK gift experience provider Virgin Experience Days will acquire the whole of Cloud 9 Living’s US operations.
The two brands are leaders in their domestic gift experience markets, with Virgin Experience Days using the acquisition as a springboard for further growth into a US gift experience market estimated at $1bn with substantial scope for future development.
As part of the Virgin family, Cloud 9 Living will be rebranded as Virgin Experience Gifts in the US. Plans for the business include deeper expansion into certain US geographies, broadening the product range on offer and introducing unique and exclusive experiences that have successfully differentiated the proposition in the UK.
Virgin Experience Days and Cloud 9 Living currently offer consumers and corporate clients a choice of over 4,000 experiences. Combined, they account for almost 1.4million purchases each year in a resilient gifting market poised for growth as consumers increasingly change their purchasing habits to favour experiences over tangible gifts. In 2019, Virgin Experience Days recorded a 92% annual increase in UK Black Friday sales, while a 2018 Eventbrite survey revealed that 63% of US adults would prefer to receive an experience gift over a material gift.
The gift experience sector is also uniquely poised to capitalise on the current rise in demand for staycations and pent-up consumer demand for much missed experiences as social restrictions are eased. Some £125bn of personal savings accrued during the pandemic in the UK alone. Despite the impact of the pandemic, Virgin Experience Days has continued to support consumer demand with extensive forward bookings as consumers crave an experience to look forward to, alongside its diversification into a virtual offering which has allowed thousands of consumers to enjoy experiences at home.
Cloud 9 Living joins the Virgin family at an exciting time for the brand in the US, with successful growing brands including Virgin Hotels, Virgin Voyages, Virgin Hyperloop and those shooting for the stars at Virgin Galactic and Virgin Orbit.
On the acquisition, Virgin Experience Days CEO Richard Hurd-Wood comments, “This acquisition marks an exciting chapter for the Virgin Experience Days brand in the US. The Virgin brand has strong recognition already in the US and the acquisition of Cloud 9 Living bolsters our product proposition around extraordinary experiences for people to enjoy together. We have no doubt that shared, enriching experiences represent the future of gifting”.
Cloud 9 Living says, “We are thrilled to be joining the Virgin brand family. The opportunity in the U.S. experience gift market is enormous and largely untapped. Merging with an industry leader like Virgin Experience Days will enable us to rapidly accelerate growth as we work towards making unforgettable experiences the #1 gift of choice here in the U.S.”
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