Current times are marked by movement and shifts, both literally and figuratively.The world is experiencing a period of cultural transience; a new era is evolving, with all the excitement this brings in its wake. Depending on the chosen perspective this can be experienced as either positive or negative. Seen from a global and environmental perspective we are living on borrowed time. However, from the view of science and technology we are living in an exciting ‘proto time’. And then again, when observed from a humanist viewpoint we find ourselves in a ‘Pre-naissance’; a preliminary phase of a new period in human development. A new period, in which a more holistic perspective is required, as the notion steadily takes hold that we are all part of one large global (eco) system and have a stake in the chain as a whole. We are also acquiring dimensions: virtual, analogue, as human being or ‘virtividual’, or a mix of these through a process of technological embodiment. For this reason, having a clear context is of primary essence; context as a framework, a signifier, relevance filter and rationale.

Desire for the human scale

Consumer behaviour in reaction to the spirit of the time is marked by a clear desire for the human scale; the human scale as counterbalance and for getting in touch with our-selves again in this high octane world. We find a solid handle in the typically human, archetypical drivers, which in a nutshell describes the key consumer trends:

> Direction; a need for overview, direction and grip.

> Connection; a need for empathy, social involvement, to be part of something.

> Context: a need to give meaning to things, a narrative, a framework.

These three notions as a trinity form the context in which it all takes place.

>Direction; a need for grip and overview. Wisdom. Who am I, what is my position, where do I want to be, and at what speed do I want to get there? We are seeking structure in rhythm and rituals. Attention, taking the time for something, creating quiet moments to recharge the batteries. We have a desire to use all our senses again, not only the eyes which are becoming jaded and swamped by the plethora of visual excesses, but also our fingers which are so often limited to feeling nothing more than the hard glass of a touch screen. We are also once again considering what we can jettison from the old and what we will class as essential and take along with us. Sifting out, creating order, archiving, cherishing the things ‘allowed to stay’.

>Connection; man is a social animal, who harbours a keen desire to feel part of something. Being with someone; togetherness. Small circles of trust, ad hoc coalitions, pooled independence, partial systems, peer to peer communities. Experiencing connectivity with culture or nature, with a particular style and with what we eat. ‘Food is the biggest social media’. The notion that we are all part of one big global (eco) system and that we are all responsible for the entire chain is growing. Co-existence, Co-everything. Attention, empathy, compassion and kindness are significant (pre) conditions.

>Context: This notion revolves around the need for meaning, a framework, a context. It also longs for the narrative behind something and for a personal identity. How do I express this? How can I relate my old story in the language of tomorrow? 

This becomes manifest in new compositions with old ingredients, concept stores, tangible collections of ‘things that come to pass’. A context can be: art, fantasy, imagination, the child within, disarming approach, having fun, play, cultivating the everyday or even naivety.

Posted in consumer trends.

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