18 April 2010

The Newest New Consumer

A short history of new consumer generation

Every 20 or 30 years a new consumer appears. But who is he and who created him? Well… Lets have a look at history of modern consumer.
60’s and 70’s in the Western World were significant times not only for its major musical appearances (artists of Woodstock generation) but also because of historical breaks through, and changes in the way people lived.

Over 40 years ago the world went through so called ‘flower power experience’, with rebellious young adults rejecting consumerism their parents tried to bring them up in. This rejection resulted in a worldwide ‘human transformation movement’, which had a significant impact on creation of nonconformist new consumer. 

The movement changed peoples’ perceptions of themselves and of their expectations from life. This forced marketers to also change their approach to this new consumer. As they were no longer conformists all wanting the same things, marketing companies had to think of new ways to attract these new costumers to their products.

In the 80’s a new questionnaire was set up to research the needs of the new consumer. What was new and unusual about this research was its interest in personality of people participating in it. Questions such as: “what do you think about yourself” or “what do you want from life” appeared on the questionnaire, and to the researchers’ surprise the response to the survey was huge.

The results gave marketing and PR companies a new insight into their potential customers’ values and convinced them that people are different and have different needs and desires. The new consumer wanted something exceptional for him/herself and his/her belongings should tell something about his/her personality. 

This gave birth to a new term – the lifestyle. Because consumers had various needs and perceived life in different ways, also different lifestyles were to reflect their personalities. This term is still very current although its variety developed largely since the 80’s. 

Today another new (newest) consumer progressively evolves, and slowly more and more of us can see him/her taking a new shape. It’s so called ‘ethical consumer’ or ‘future-proof consumer’. 

He/she is someone who cares about the environment or is aware of current environmental issues. He/she is a person interested in sustainably manufactured products and shops in fair trade stores. The newest new consumer is someone who is conscious of organic and healthy foods. And above all, he/she is someone who shops on-line and is not afraid to use the Internet to either check and compare products, or report consumer abuse on public forums. 

*More information can be found in 'Century Of The Self - Part 3 - There is a Policeman in our Heads' film by Adam Curtis and in new consumer magazine for contemporary consumers.


Anonymous said...

There is always a way to find a new consumer. It scares me sometimes that we're not aware of the tricks corporations and marketing people use.

Any way, interesting post :)

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