Get Ready For the Shopping DecadeWe are Halfway Through the Decade of Luxury — Do You Know Where Your Consumer Market Is Going?
Historically, the contemporary consumer marketplace is defined by macro trends that last about a decade. The 80s was the decade of the mall with the rapid rise and spread of enclosed shopping malls. The 90s changed all that as the age of the discounters emerged. Today Wal-Mart controls nearly 10 percent of all money spent at retail.
In this first decade of the 21st century we are in the age of luxury, with the baby boomers reaching the empty-nesting years and emerging as the new luxury generation. But right now we are mid-way through the luxury decade, and if marketers aren’t already tapped into the luxury market they may be a little late to the ‘party.’
So what comes next? The next decade (2010-2020) on the shopping horizon will be the age of experiences. Savvy luxury marketers are getting ready now for the paradigm shifting changes already taking shape.
Consumer strive to satisfy higher level needs — Happiness comes from doing more, not from having more stuff
With American’s standard of living so high, consumers today are hankering to satisfy higher level emotional needs as described by psychologist Abraham Maslow in the hierarchy of needs. The Maslow hierarchy explains how first people seek to satisfy their physiological needs, then safety needs, followed by love and affection, then esteem. After all these needs are satisfied, people strive for self-actualization, which is “the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.”
For more Americans with an excess of material goods, self-actualization becomes the ultimate goal. Our culture as a whole is moving beyond the pursuit of material things. In the search for more meaning, people discover that experiences are the source of their greatest satisfaction.
Decade of luxury will result in a consumer ‘hangover’ — Consumers will seek a cure through new experiences
Here in the middle of the decade of luxury, its inevitable end is already beginning to take shape. By 2010 the baby boomers, the new generation of luxury, will be 46-to-64 years old. Starting around age 55 years, people’s shopping and buying patterns begin to change, but they make a dramatic shift after age 65.
As they age, the boomers will inevitably express a backlash against personal self-indulgence. The focus will turn inward toward developing one’s inner life.
As the boomers progress from age 55 to 65 years, they will begin to drop their previous self-indulgent ways, which gave rise to the age of luxury in the first place, and take a more practical, pragmatic approach to spending. They will strive for fiscal and social responsibility.
The ‘Me-Generation’ will morph into the ‘We-Generation.’ As it does, the future focus of consuming will be inside, rather than outside, so consumer will hanker after products, services and experiences that will develop their mind, body, heart and soul.
The coming consumer value paradigm: How they experience
Luxury marketers who have learned the lesson of selling to consumers’ experience will be well positioned to evolve their business model into the new age of experiences that will start to dawn around 2010 or so.
They have embraced the idea that today the goal of shopping is not about getting more stuff, but to achieve a new kind of experience, both an experience delivered by the product itself (fashion to deliver a ‘beauty’ experience; home furnishings to deliver a ‘comforting’ experience; dishes and tableware to deliver an enhanced ‘dining’ experience) and an experience delivered through shopping (the thrill of finding a bargain; the convenience of internet shopping; the fun of exploring little boutiques for that wonderful ‘something’ that one experiences as beauty, wonder, fascination, or uniqueness).
But the new experience consumers will strive for is directed toward doing good, for oneself, for one’s family, for one’s friends, social circle, neighborhood, culture. These changes will not come about as a revolution, so much as an evolution, which is one of the reasons why the early warning signs may be easy to miss or ignore. But things will not keep on the same track forever. It already is beginning to shift and we need to become attuned to the subtle changing signs of the times.
To learn more about what comes next, order a copy of the latest Luxury Business issue at http://www.unitymarketingonline.com/reports2/luxury/luxury2.html
The latest issue of Luxury Business: The Luxury Marketer’s Report has just been published by Unity Marketing (www.unitymarketingonline.com). In this issue Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of Let Them Eat Cake: Marketing Luuxry for the Masses — as well as the Classes, takes a look over the horizon toward the future of shopping.