Did the pandemic change conspicuous consumption?

In a brand new survey of hundreds of worldwide shoppers, practically half stated that they’ve realized throughout the pandemic that they’ve too many garments. Some 44% stated that once they store—for something, not simply clothes—manufacturers at the moment are much less of an element; 53% stated that they’re now extra prone to restore one thing than substitute it. And whereas round half of respondents stated that they have been purchasing otherwise for monetary causes, practically a 3rd stated that they have been pushed by sustainability, a pattern that’s prone to final past the pandemic.

The survey, EY’s Future Client Index, is the eighth version of a challenge that began in April 2020 as COVID-19 unfold. “The purpose was actually simply to know what basic shifts have been going down,” says Kristina Rogers, world shopper chief at the consulting agency EY. Individuals began resetting their priorities about consumption due to the pandemic, she says, and plenty of are deciding that they need to purchase fewer, higher-quality merchandise that may last more.

For many individuals who’ve been working at dwelling, surrounded by stuff, there’s a realization that they already personal an excessive amount of. “There’s this pattern extra in the direction of being extra thoughtful by way of what they purchase in the future,” Rogers says. (Although the lengthy strains of ships stuffed with new items at our ports would possibly point out individuals’s precise habits are differing from what they are saying in a survey, or that issues have reset since the depths of the pandemic.)


Fewer individuals—solely 27%—now agree with the assertion that they purchase extra issues as a result of it makes them glad. And 85% say that they need to think about sustainability when purchasing. “There’s usually a big intention and motion hole with shoppers, so we don’t know what the precise outcome can be,” Rogers explains. “However I feel we’re seeing lots now round shoppers able to change their habits to make better-informed [decisions about] merchandise for the good of society. And in reality, what’s coming by now’s far more demand for manufacturers and corporations to take some duty for main a few of that optimistic change.”

Manufacturers might need to rethink what they promote. “Along with the steps that firms would possibly already be taking to sort out ESG [environmental, social, and governance] targets, firms might want to take note of this knowledge and proceed to watch for which segments of shoppers are together with points similar to sustainability and staff’ rights as a purchase order criterion, in addition to their willingness to pay extra for merchandise which can be sustainably and ethically sourced,” Rogers says.

“As these shopper segments proceed to develop and speed up the name for change, firms might want to revisit their enterprise practices throughout the worth chain, from sourcing to manufacturing to demand creation,” she provides. “Quick trend, as an illustration, deploys a ‘buy-use-dispose’ demand mannequin that isn’t future match. If they don’t seem to be going to outlive on excessive quantity and quick turnover, quick trend might want to think about a mixture of upper high quality, costlier objects, subscription fashions, round resell fashions, and so forth.”