My friend and colleague Kellie McElhaney recently pointed me to a very interesting website, trendwatching.com. The site keeps track of consumer trends worldwide. I was particularly interested in a recent trend briefing on the role of status in consumer buying decisions, and the top-5 ways that consumers get their status buying fix. Without further ado, here they are:
1. Bigger, better, harder. Traditional consumption is about buying (and enjoying and showing off) more and/or better stuff than fellow consumers. Trendwatching.com has dubbed this the BIGGER, BETTER, HARDER realm, which is by no means dead. The recession is just a blip on the radar when it comes to some consumers’ appetite for expensive, in-your-face brands and products that feed off status anxiety.
2. Generosity. Owning is no longer the only way for consumers to get their status fix: the act of giving reflects well (if not better) on individuals, too.
3. Green credentials and unconsumption. As entire societies have embraced sustainability in everything as the (only) way forward, and as millions of consumers are now actively trying to greenify their lives, green credentials are an endless source of status. Just witness a substantial subset of consumers already bestowing recognition and praise on Prius and Insight owners while scorning SUV owners.
4. In the know and skills. Growing pockets of consumers find pleasure (and STATUS STORIES) in mastering skills and acquiring knowledge. They attain status from finding an appreciative audience that's impressed with what they know, and can create, instead of what they consume.
5. Connectivity. First and foremost, when it comes to online status, it’s all about who you connect to, and who connects to you, tribal style. It still is about being unique, but it's about belonging, too: belonging to tribes whose membership renders status to its members.