Josh Allen Dykstra in Fast Company recently explored “why millennials don’t want to buy stuff.” He noted that “the concept of shopping has shifted from owning stuff to buying into new ideas.” He explores whether this change is driven by the bad economy, technological changes or generations, and lands on: “Humanity is experiencing an evolution in consciousness.” Applause (not intended to be condescending)! Just so happy to see this – I would guess that 90+% of the explanations I see or hear fall into either economy, technology or generations as the primary drivers.
In ConsumerShift, I noted that recession tends to reverse values changes (we can use “values shifts” as a rough surrogate for the “evolution in consciousness” noted above.) In times of economic stress, people are less inclined to adopt new values or may even “fall back” to known and familiar values. But the arrival of postmodern and integral values appears to be bucking the pattern; that is, the Great Recession may be reinforcing the emergence of the new. In a nutshell, these new values suggest a consumer lifestyle that puts less emphasis on economic success and material goods achievement, and more emphasis on quality-of-life concerns. The constraints imposed by the Great Recession actually make it “easier” to put less emphasis on economic matters.
I agree with Dykstra that at the core of what’s going on is an evolution in consciousness, and I’d add that it is supported by changes in the economy, technology. and generations. If you’re an organization that makes “stuff,” it might be time to dust off the strategic plan. Andy Hines