At Resolver, we care about issues that are most important to UK consumers. Most of what we’ve been covering recently are the issues created by rapidly rising inflation. From the increasing cost of food in the supermarket, to extortionate price hikes on mobile and broadband bills, virtually everything seems unaffordable.
But what about things that are… too cheap? Is a good deal really a deal if you end up paying for something you don’t need?
Today, many consumers are facing a paradoxical situation where they are struggling to afford basic necessities but are also being incentivized to buy things they don’t need or really even want.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s been shown how rising inflation spurs compulsive buying. When the struggle to stay on top of things feels unending, people are far more easily seduced by the little lift or dopamine hit that comes with making a small online purchase.
Our recent article on Buy Now Pay Later covered some of the common problems that arise when this form of payment is being pushed on consumers. For young people in particular, BNPL is not just a financial arrangement but is becoming a lifestyle connected to influencer culture and trends for fast fashion.
The psychological strategies that these and other schemes rely on promote compulsive consumption to turn a profit – trapping many consumers in cycles of debt or financial precarity.
As well as the financial toll these new trends take on consumers there is a whole other set of issues to do with consumer habits and behaviour. Over-consumption is becoming a serious problem: people are addicted to online shopping or being exploited by aggressive digital marketing strategies and algorithmic ploys.
And when the things you are pressured to buy are so cheap, it may feel like you can’t complain about them.
Thankfully, there are already some signs of pushback. Terms like ‘de-influencing’ and ‘greenwashing’ have been created to describe, and help people protect themselves from, the new ploys and pressures of hyperconsumption.
Consumers are learning new ways to avoid, resist or keep under control the pressure and impulses to buy more, and to save their money, time and energy for things that are worth their while.
As experts in consumer trends and experiences, we want to address these developments in consumer cultures. In our upcoming series on consumer trends and tactics, we will be looking at the sectors that are changing the way people shop, the habits and behaviours they encourage, and strategies for staying in control of your feelings and finances.
We’ll be taking a look at fast fashion, and how companies like Shein are creating new ways of shopping, as well as the second-hand marketplaces like Vinted and Depop that have risen alongside them. We’ll also explore new marketing strategies, from subscription traps, to price fixing, to the time-limited discounts that are shaping the way people buy their package holidays or choose their gas supplier.
With your financial and mental health in mind, we’ll highlight some expert advice on the best ways to stay in control and consume in a way that isn’t harmful to yourself or others.
If you have any thoughts on this topic, or any other consumer issues you would like us to cover, feel free to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.