A New Culture of Consumption?

That’s the million dollar question that has retailers of various stripes waiting with baited breath. I guess we’re all wondering whether this economic downturn is just the natural business cycle, or if instead a more fundamental shift is under way.

Certainly, frugality is the word of the day – and just about everyone I know, including myself is cutting back on expenses. But here’s the real question – with less dollars in your pocket, do change what you desire or aspire to have?

So while I’m cooking at home more, and I canceled some memberships I wasn’t really using – I still find myself lusting after a 50-inch plasma TV and a week long adventure trip to Egypt. And those cut-rate bargains sure are tempting my desires, and changing my expectations of what I think I should have to pay.

To help you consider these issues further, here are two articles for your insights consumption.

  • The first is a fascinating little report about the psychology of consumers during these economic times. It comes from the Hartman Group, a market research firm that specializes in ethnographic research and the psycho-emotional role of brands in people’s lives. I highly recommend giving this a quick 10 minute read about what might change, and what will probably stay the same.Link to the pdf report
  • The second resource is an article I came across thanks to business anthropologist Grant McCracken about a firm called Toniq who have a unique take on the consumption habits of 20 and 30 somethings (our so called cultural tastemakers), even amidst these recessionary times. In this article they are quoted, along with Marc Gobe, author of Emotional Branding.Link to the article in WWD