If you’re marketing a Green solution or leading with Green as a key attribute it could be the case that you are missing a greater opportunity with consumers. Through their annual “Scan of Consumer Evolutions and New Trends”, global consumer behavior and trends consultancy RISC International has uncovered a multi-faceted collection of consumer needs. This has lead to the coining of a new trend, “Positive Consumption”.
You may remember RISC International and their insightful Managing Director Sharon Greene from our conversation this summer on Teen Trends. Today I’ve asked Sharon to return and share her team’s recent findings.
Sharon, tell us about the study. Who participates?
Our Annual Scan of Consumer Evolution and New Trends program (ASCENT) is based on a 500 questions survey administered to over 30,000 respondents in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the US and the BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India and China.
The sample is representative of more than one third of the consumers in the world and upwards on two thirds of consumption power. This vast knowledge base allows us to explore and understand the pace, depth and impact of societal evolution across the globe - the hidden links between demographics, social and cultural movements, the individuals and trends transforming society, and the strategies our clients need to adapt their business.
The team at RISC has referred to Positive Consumption as a new trend. How do you define positive consumption?
We are living in times of great frustration for consumers. In a world of permanent risk, profound demographic changes, ubiquitous technology and increasing globalization, they want to regain control and initiative to reconcile their personal desires and needs with those of society. They still like to buy, of course. But now, they know that they should think about the consequences, become aware that in order to keep on buying, they will need to buy more wisely and more responsibly.
They want brands to help them to consume better, not more. This is the trend we call Positive Consumption.
Don’t you see a dilemma in this? Consumption is not traditionally associated with environmentally responsible behavior.
Positive Consumption bridges the perceived gap between consumption and sustainability, so yes, it may seem contradictory. But we have identified a strong convergence of five consumer aspirations. They are often addressed separately, but we show that consumers will increasingly look for products and services, which satisfy all five:
1. Social Engagement - or consumer empowerment - is the main dimension driving Positive Consumption across the world, it reflects a growing desire to engage and give back to society but also to take back control over one’s life, it’s all about reciprocity.
2. Environment - characterized by an active concern for environmental issues and a desire to do what one can to protect the environment
3. Health - reflecting concerns for the effects that products can have on one’s health and the health of one’s family. This dimension is increasingly linked to environment.
4. Feel Good - an aspiration towards enhancing personal and individual wellbeing a dimension which emphasizes the fact that the Positive Consumption trend is not about denying oneself pleasure
5. Ethics and ethical behavior - a preference for ethical business and an increasing sensitivity to the collective responsibility we have to ensure that companies do business in an ethical way.