Let’s start by taking a quick look at history, the evolution and adaptation of the consumer, and… ultimately your new customer. In 1936, in the wake of the Great Depression, consumers began to work and shop like never before. The growth of factories masked the rumble of the Second World War in Europe. People began to shop and spend like never before. It was seen as patriotic, a way to bring the US to its feet.
The 50’s and 60’s brought on the selling generation. The hard sale was the only sale to make. Door to door salesmen and keeping up with the Jones was all the rage. What you wanted was driven by your neighbors and what you could buy was dictated by the stores in your city. What helped to increase our spending? Why, the credit card!
Then television began to create an insatiable appetite for more! Bigger! Better! We started to want things that we could never have, let alone never knew about.
Our desires for new products lead the greatest spike in our purchasing when the influence of the internet spread nationwide. Not only where we pushed to buy a product we didn’t need, we could purchase that product in the comfort of our home with the click of a few buttons.
We were a consumer culture that had profligate excess. By 2006, one in ten U.S. households was renting a self-storage unit to hold our piles of “stuff” (New Consumer).
Then in 2007 it all came crashing down. In the cusp of our current recession, we began to see a historic shift in the behavior of consumers. We are witnessing a broad and fundamental movement away from mindless hyper consumerism and an approach that has shifted our society to conscious, purposeful spending.
So what does this mean?
People still want more, but they are defining that differently.
“72% of people are shopping more carefully and mindfully than they used to” (RSCG)
“70% respect people who live simply” (U.S. World Report)
Our discontent has led to a new outlook on life.
“72% are making an effort to improve their life” (RSCG)
“50% of people have re-imagined their life on a simpler level” (SNC)
We shop with a purpose.
“69% claim to be a smarter, more cautious buyer than they were a few years ago” (RSCG)
“62% of consumers will do lots of research and screening online before they ever make a purchase” (U.S. World Report)
There is no doubt that we are in the mists of a new consumer. This isn’t just the 20 something’s or rowdy teenagers; this is a shift in buying habits that has affected us all.
We demand engagement and information to be at our finger tips. We have lost our trust in the big cooperation’s and we verify everything.
Now I could go into far greater depth over the subject matter, but the bottom line is that consumers have begun to shop differently. And, if your business has not started to realize this cataclysmic shift then you have failed to see the crash of your business.
Give your consumers what they demand. Engage and inform. Be authentic and transparent. Let them research your identity online only to find the completely genuine company that you are. Go digital, the right way, and you won’t be let down.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree? Positive and NEGITVE comments are welcome!
(If you would like further information on this subject you can contact us or check out thenewconsumer.com and read “The Soul of the New Consumer” by David Lewis & Derren Bridger. I highly recommend them!)
Sources: thenewconsumer.com, U.S. World Report, Euro RSCG Worldwide, and Soul of the New Consumer.