The Post-Covid Consumer : Four profilesStudies
This assessment of attitudes and factors likely to be driving consumption between now and 2022 examines four key consumer profiles.
The economic, environmental and identity-related impacts of the Covid-19 crisis have caused – and continue to cause – a global phenomenon of desynchronization within society.
– the renewed focus on self and the injunction to show solidarity
– protectionist distrust and the desire to feel carefree again
– digital overcompensation and vital interactions.
Our world seems to be in a perpetual state of crisis, with each new calamity challenging how we live life as individuals and collectively. That’s why it’s high time to formulate a battle plan and make it work!
Whether your plan highlights resistance or resilience, the main thing is not to let events cast you adrift, but to pursue your own QUEST as you march towards better days.
A quest to RALLY around a different kind of vision, affirmed and championed by charismatic leaders.
Come up with a third way appealing to those who can’t relate to the mechanisms of today’s society.
A quest to help HEAL human suffering via empathy, the best remedy.
Countering the backlash: Try to soothe tensions, bridge over gaps and fractures (e.g. social, environmental and identity-related) and build consensus around the beauty of human values.
A quest to GET BACK AT LIFE driven by the fear of loss and frustration at restrictions.
Compensate by seeking new forms of visibility and excitement, as if to prove that we are stronger than our doubts and uncertainties.
A quest in favor of REVIVING healthier, more meaningful and more autonomous ways of life.
Learn from society’s errors and darkest periods to become better and more aware of what really matters.
In the wake of a crisis, consumer stances tend to become more radical. Let’s take a look at four profiles of consumers seeking to (re)appropriate what “stability” and “balance” mean.
THE ENLIGHTENED ON A QUEST FOR VISION AND POWER
Reacting to what they deem to be a lack of vision and clear direction in society, not to mention an absence of credible, charismatic leaders in the circles that they frequent, the enlightened are determined to take control.
For these “masterminds”, there is little difference between misunderstanding and genius. Firmly convinced of their mental superiority, these canny strategists are not naive idealists disconnected from reality, far from it. While they may not be loved, they want to be respected and tend to measure their power by the number of “likes” that they score. In the play No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre, there is a line saying that “hell is other people.” If that statement is true, then surrounding oneself with followers is a good move!
The enlightened leave no stone unturned to reach their goals, deploying their quasi-mystical charisma (a word derived from the Greek for “grace” or “spiritual gift”) and their powers of persuasion to attract loyal followers, thereby elevating their status and strengthening their influence.
Going counter to trends in favor of horizontality and transparency, these consumers identify with brands that adopt a deliberately exclusive stance, accompanied by a cult of mystery and circles of devotees.
In their view, creativity cannot be truly disruptive unless it is situated outside the system.
THE HEALERS ON A QUEST FOR HUMAN AND SOCIAL CONNECTION
At a time when societies, systems and technologies increasingly foster isolation, individualism, self-centeredness and artificial self-representation, the HEALERS increasingly believe in the power of the inner self (as opposed to the self shown to the world).
Seeking universality, they advocate human centricity and the values of listening, understanding and care.
Preferring temperance to conflict, these peacemakers are on a mission to “fix” humanity by healing its urban, environmental and identity-related ills.
In the process, they prefer to stress what we have in common – our emotions, and planet – rather than what drives us apart, i.e. ego and grudges.
The Healers relate to brands that fight for the invisible majorities in the name of empathy and justice. They aim to give new meaning to the value of time and things. They are also convinced that we can still make up for our sins and compensate for our actions. All hail the regeneration civilization!
THE POSEURS ON A QUEST FOR VISIBLITY AND RECOGNITION
Afraid of “disappearing” due to home confinement or the need to wear a mask, the POSEURS are looking for reassurance about their own importance.
They have a passion for self-representation, which they regard as a game and which inspires them to experiment. The old saying that patience is the greatest virtue may not apply to these insatiable consumers. On the contrary, they have clearly understood that nobody is irreplaceable, which prompts them to enjoy the spotlight while it lasts – what matters is to exist.
These pleasure-lovers live in the moment. They refuse to anticipate, project or rationalize, much less sacrifice the present in hopes of a better future. Their vision of self-fulfillment centers on ultra-immediacy, leading them to confuse possession with happiness.
Viewing life as a never-ending show, they love brands that help them live out their fantasies, including in the virtual world. In other words, they’ll follow the market players that dominate amid the frenetic pace of fast culture.
THE ESSENTIALISTS ON A QUEST FOR ESSENTIALS AND SELF-SUFFICIENCY
Enlightened essentialists obsess about self-sufficiency and virtuous autonomy. The Covid-19 crisis has made them realize how fragile their consumption environment is and how dependent they are on external systems to meet essential human needs (e.g. to eat, care for health, keep busy, connect with each other and communicate).
They now understand that their daily comfort – which they’d completely taken for granted – was actually hanging by a thread that could snap at any moment, without their being able to stop it.
Industrious rather than spendthrift, the Essentialists prefer to anticipate rather than buy heedlessly. They believe in common sense and rationality, which they feel has been lost amid the hectic pace of modern life as well as the ease of consumption and its temptations, resulting in overconsumption.
Modest in attitude, they are not trying to set up a hierarchy between humans, Nature and technology, but aspire to live in a sort of utilitarian state of osmosis in which each serves the common good.
The Essentialists support brands that combine innovation with frugality, drawing on Nature’s ingenuity as much as human intelligence and technology. Their ideal is to harness common sense and creativity to do better with less.
For all of these profiles, the main thing is to dare take the plunge and pursue the quest, whether driven by belief in self, humanity, common sense or conscience.
For further insights on these profiles and how consumers in these categories relate to beauty, fashion, food, the home, design, services and technology, check out the 2022 edition of our Life & Style!