Post-recessionary Consumerism

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by: Dick Stroud

Marketers should have a couple (well two business and one personal) questions that are dominating their thinking.

The business ones are – how does my business navigate and prosper during the recession – secondly how will consumer behaviour change as we move into the post-recessionary era.

The personal question, and probably the most pressing, is how the hell do I keep my job.

This article in Marketing Week is a perfect example of Xmas Tree speculation about post recessionary consumer behaviour. Beware; I am not sure how long the article will remain freely accessible.

This question enables writers to take all of their personal prejudices, wishes, desires and hunches and dress-up the Xmas tree so that it appears to have a pattern and form. Exactly the same thing happens with much of the commentary about global warming.

This writer has four propositions that he attempts to support with the scantiest of evidence.

Using vs wasting. Sustainability and thrift will become mainstream.

Being good at something. A return of ‘skills’, particularly among young people.

Trading vs consuming. Consumers recognise and exert their buying power.

Social vs individual objects. Individualism still prospers but not at the expense of shared values and endeavours.

The fairy on the top of the tree is that: “the new era should be more communal and shared; purchases will be more considered, young people will understand the importance of developing a skill and we will be more likely to live within our means financially and ecologically.”

Who knows this maybe true but it sounds a lot like wishful thinking. In fact this line of argument is really all about rebounding attitudes. The writer reckons we have all been greedy nasty and selfish consumers. We have hit the wall of economic collapse and rebound with these attitudes inverted. Somehow I think it will be a lot more complicated than this.

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