From Mindless to Mindful Consumption

There’s really no question the recent financial crisis changed consumer shopping behavior. The question seems to be now “is it permanent?” Well, nothing’s ever permanent in the world of shopper marketing but John Gerzema from BAV Consulting and co-author of Spend Shift, suggests things have changed profoundly.

This morning at the 12th annual Shopper Insights in Action Conference sponsored by IIR USA, Gerzema laid out five attitudinal trends driving “spend shift”.

  1. Consumer Empathy (e.g., MIT body suits used to “feel old”)
  2. Don’t Fence Me In (e.g., growing self-reliance to offset the loss of esteem)
  3. The Badge of Awesomeness (e.g., people are happier with a down-to-earth lifestyle)
  4. Block Party Capitalism (e.g., buy local, authentic)
  5. An Army of Davids (e.g., growing trend to cooperative consumerism)

Characterizing this were the dramatic changes in attributes that matter most to brands. Kindness is up 391% and attributes like “friendly” and “socially responsible” have climbed 79% and 63% respectively.

So, the consumer shift is profound and lasting. Gerzema summed it up well when he called it a shift from mindless consumption to mindful consumption. That type of consumer will demand something different from brands and CPG firms would do well to take note.