Demographics are Dead in the New Age of Consumerism

Feb 2nd, 2016 // Permalink

PR, Media & Marketing, proud mama of 2, hockey mom, curious, creator, lover of cooking, crosswords and all-things media.

If your business invests a tremendous amount of resources into identifying the perfect “consumer” (i.e., target demographic) for your brand – and what business doesn’t? — the time has come to reach beyond the basic age, gender & marital status demography indicators. In simple terms, demographics are dead.

At the 2015 TrendWatching seminar in NYC, experts predicted a shift to “post-demographic consumerism,” and for many businesses and industries, it’s a game-changer. The day was filled with information and examples from every industry and region of the world.

Post-demographic consumerism is where people of all ages, in all markets are constructing their identities more freely than ever, and as a result, their consumption patterns are no longer tied to traditionally-defined demographic populations. For example, Asilo Padre Cacique, a retirement home in Porto Alegre, Brazil, hosted an activity day for its elderly residents in September 2014, featuring a skateboard exhibition and graffiti artists. To illustrate this point, the TrendWatching experts shared this video demonstrating how consumers are clearly not acting as they ‘should.’

Today, consumers are less about age, gender and marital status. They’re more about attitudes, behaviors and the expectations which drive their purchasing decisions and loyalty. Consumers are already demonstrating a preference for brands and companies that are in step with their expectations. This is evidenced by services like Uber and the Amazon Dash Button, technology advances like Apple’s racially and sexually diverse emoji’s and fitness trends like yoga stores just for men.

Consumerism and status have always been linked. Now, status is more about who you are and what you do and less about what you have. The post-demographic statusphere is open to all and its symbols are about experiences, authenticity, connection, health and ethical and sustainable lifestyles.

The brands that embrace post-demographic consumerism can create a global experience. The experts at TrendWatching explained that consumers of all demographics and in all markets increasingly buy and use products and services from the same mega-brands: Apple, Facebook, Amazon (the technology sector is especially universal), IKEA, McDonald’s, Uniqlo, Nike and more. Combine the collective familiarity of these mega-brands with the global reach of consumer information, and a shared consciousness and experience is created for people aged 17-70, from Boston to Beijing.

Tracking trends helps meet and surpass consumers’ rapidly changing expectations. The core elements of trends are change, basic human needs and wants as well as innovation. But trends aren’t the end game for a brand. Turning trends into opportunities is how brands drive engagement to create loyal fans.

As our world of constant technological, social and attitudinal change meets human nature, decide how your innovations change consumer expectations and what those expectations mean for your brand.

Which emerging expectations are on your radar at the moment?

Looking for more information on consumer trends? Click here to read the 2016 Consumer Trends report from our colleagues at GSW.

 

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