Euro RSCG interviewed over 5700 adults in five countries and their results are contained in a report titled The New Consumer in an Age of Mindful Spending. The report describes a shift historic in scope away from mindless hyperconsumerism toward an approach that is at once more conscious and more satisfying, and certainly more sustainable.
Consumers still want MORE, but they are defining that differently. Not more shiny trifles and mountains of consumer goods but, rather, more meaning, more deeply felt connections, more substance and more of a sense of purpose. People are looking to live life in a way that offers longer-lasting satisfactions and pleasures than can be found at the Mall.
A few statistics from the Euro RSCG report sketch the outline of an emerging “new consumer”
- 72% say they are trying to improve the way they live
- 71% are trying to improve who they are as individuals
- 59% worry that society has grown too disconnected form the natural world
- 51% would like to be part of some important cause
- 67% believe most people would be better off if they lived more simply
- 69% claim to be smarter shoppers than they were a few years ago
- 64% say that making environmentally friendly choices makes them feel good about themselves.
The authors of this report summarize a myriad of statistics into four main paradigm shifts:
- Embracing Substance – people perceive a loss of depth and meaning. They want more substance and the fulfillment that comes with it. They want to feel connected to something more real than the artificial world that surrounds them. This means connecting with nature and with other people
- Rightsizing – in response to a rising mountain of personal and national debt and dazed by the excess of choice, consumers are feeling more anxious and more and more are opting to hop off the consumption treadmill and enjoy the simpler pleasures of life. They seeking to buy and own neither too much nor too little and the majority (70%) respect and admire people who live simply
- Growing Up – New Consumers want to feel more certain of themselves and more in control and are taking steps to make that happen, accepting personal responsibility and seeking to build individual competencies (DIY, gardening, growing food, making clothes) This self-reliance whether alone or in collaboration with others offers a much needed measure of control in a time of anxiety and uncertainty.
- Purposeful Pleasure – Where many of us used to prize instant gratification and adhered to the credo of “More is More” the new Consumers are seeking more purposeful pleasures that are longer lasting. They are more interested in how and where products are made, enjoy buying locally produced goods that enables them to get to know the makers.