Different strokes, different consumers

What is going on? Are we suffering from an economic crisis that is radiating outwards   towards the world from the Mediterranean area? Or is it a case of the changing civilization, as defended by Carlos Slim?

Looking at it, changes in Europe are becoming pretty structural: the retirement age pushed back, the wasteful welfare state model swept aside, new jobs with far less pay than industrial sector wages. And what’s the impact in Spain? Today consumption has been reduced by $ 3,000 per family [from € 32,014 to € 29,813 per year).

So what are we seeing exactly? The birth of a new consumer, adapted to a New Normal economic scenario? Here are some facts to mull over: consumer values are evolving from a possession to an enjoy and experience model (Ymedia); private labels are increasingly emerging  as market leaders in food&drugs categories (Nestle has launched in Europe instant noodles, individual coffee packets and Products Popularly Positioned); BCG has started to define the consumer as moving from conspicuous consumption,  to a more conscientious approach to spending:  consumers are choosing to spend money only on affordable indulgence; buying goods to make them -feel better, something the family will enjoy, or simply better for the environment. And finally, there’s a consolidation of collaborative consumption and flea markets, together with values such as austerity, frugality and smart shopping. The final result, according to Nielsen, is that 69% of European consumers have changed their buying habits to save cash.

We’re already seeing surprising trends in the growing South&Central America area, reported by Trendwatching. Latin America is witnessing the emergence of empowered consumers in every dimension: economic, technological, social and political. Consumers  are  optimistic about the future and about their ability to define it, and they see rampant materialism as something unsatisfactory. And selfish.  Economic growth that does not map to societal values is something that remains uneven and uncertain. And consumers look for brands that don’t ignore social inequality: check out significant cases analyzed by trendwatching: Satisfeito, La Fábrica del Taco, or Techo.

Opposite paths, consumers running pretty much in the same direction.

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