the New Normal #3 – shifting values
In my last (at least for now) series of observations about the New Normal, we come to consumer values.
Yes, I know there’s an online movement to eradicate the term ‘consumer’, but to be honest I’ve yet to hear a better alternative – ‘commonalities among people generally, who aren’t customers, but then again might be vaguely interested in what you have to say’ is a bit of a mouthful, ‘target audience’ too specific and ‘people’ too generic.
Obviously in terms of how people spend money, what they spend it on and why, the ballpark has shifted considerably in the last 12 months. I’ve already blogged about how ‘value’ means far more than just cheap prices, but I’m increasingly interested in the shift in values that has accompanied this.
It used to be socially acceptable to talk about what a great bargain you got – the cheapie Primark dress or knockoff designer bag. Now it’s OK to talk about how your finances are tight, what you are cutting back on to address this and even to boast about how surprisingly great the food offer is at Aldi. It’s almost got to the point where we can boast about our savvyness, with new consumer (see?) tribes No Frills Affluents, the Aldirati and Recessionistas all almost enjoying the new status quo.
Then we have the New Normal of haggling for big ticket items, deciding a restaurant for dinner or day out destination based on who is offering the best vouchers and never ordering online without checking for a discount code first.
Add to this the rise of simplicity and home crafts, a backlash against conspicuous consumption and being urged to shop responsibly (care of Gok Wan, Mary Portas and co) and it all seems to be about Considered Consumption. Even Provenance is inching its way back into decision making, except perhaps its now more about Buying British or supporting local producers than paying a premium for happy chickens.
Go ahead, its OK to buy something, but make sure you have a justifiable reason behind your purchase, get a discount, recycle whatever you’re replacing and don’t make a song and dance about it (unless it was a real bargain).