Rewarding the Post-Recession Consumer

surprise, delight and package well

The average house size has fallen for the first time since 1973. We’re consuming less, and consuming more meaningfully. Given the pace of recovery, this isn’t a new trend. It’s a new habit.

One hypothesis is that the Great Recession is an early symptom of economic maturity. Perhaps the US’s explosive growth during the 20th century was economic adolescence. Now, our more mature economy will grow at a permanently more modest rate, much like that of pre-unified modern Europe.

I see this as outstanding news. It offers Americans the opportunity for the upgrade of a lifetime. In the mature economy model, the thoughtless consumption of disposable stuff we don’t need will be replaced with two post recession types of spending:

  1. Necessary consumption: buying basic things we need to live comfortably, such as food, heat and transportation
  2. Rewarding consumption: buying things that signify, stimulate or emotionally satisfy. These are “milestone” purchases like a birthday dinner, an anniversary gift or a kitchen remodel

Increasingly, necessary consumption will be commoditized, and will thus be highly competitive and subject to discounting. Embracing the idea of rewarding consumption is the future.

This means marketers have to look for ways to reward your consumer, even when the purchase falls into the necessary category.  What if an oil change was accompanied by a car wash?

Deep cuts necessary to survive the downturn have most businesses thinking like airlines. As our slow recovery persists, whatever your business, begin to think like a chocolatier or a jeweler. These experts in rewarding consumption surprise, delight and package well. Emulate them and you’ll turn an ever more discerning customer into a devotee.

This entry was written by Kevin Smith, posted on September 5, 2012 at 2:00 pm, filed under Advertising, Consumer Behavior, Offerings, R-blog, Social Consciousness, Trend: Considerism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

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