Today the world of retail is facing a massive consumer preference shift. And they are crying. Just as the music or print or taxis industries were crying a few years ago.
And as usual, people are not only blaming digital but are also dreaming of going back to “the good old days where everything was better”.
From our perspective, what is happening goes much deeper. The way people consume, meaning the way WE all consume, has changed. And it keeps changing. But it goes even deeper: what we consume, how we consume it and, more important, WHY we consume it is different.
We call this Massive Consumer Preference Shift. It is happening. And the traditional phase of denial has already started. But that’s not the key. The key is in the why.
Unfortunately, as usual we have to map the what and the how. So let’s do this: what is changing and how?
For a long time, we lived in the world of suburbia. With its roads, little houses and cars. Lots of cars. The American dream of freedom, growth and individuality that inspired that world. A world where, usually on Saturdays, we would take a big car, go to a big shopping center, fill a big caddie, put all this stuff in the big trunk of our big car and take it back to the big fridge at home.
This world is gone.
If you still live this exact life now, watch for all the signs around you that tell different stories.
As an example, one of the strongest trend in US wedding celebrations is about providing weed instead of alcohol, and no meat or a vegan buffet. Actually, we’ve already identified a dozen major markets where veganism is currently overtaking the hamburger trend.
Let’s go further. Do you know the crossfit moms? Have you seen the evolution of the image of women in media and advertising? Have you noticed the societal debates in the workplace about gender pay gaps, and the toxic leadership of the stone age white alpha male? Have you noticed the enormous amount of stories shifting these days?
As we keep writing in this blog, the stories are changing around three core pillars: mobility, work and living/housing. Are we working as we did back in the 1980s? Are we travelling and commuting as we did back in the 1990s? How do we shop? How do we connect to brands today? How do we look at the world? Is it still the same world? What products do we prefer today? What experiences do we chose?