Consumer Evolution (22 Feb 2005)
Imagine you make fast and powerful motorcycles: Who do you reckon would buy them? Blokes with long greasy hair, or perhaps Marlon Brando wannabes? Well, you might be right up to a point, but these days you’re just as likely to sell your motorbikes to a company director -- a female company director, even.
Confusion over who wants what is in part due to baby boomers refusing to grow old gracefully, but it’s far more complicated then that. In the old days we conformed to stereotypes. Young or old, male or female, rich or poor. We knew our place and behaved accordingly; spending our money on what was appropriate to our age and type.
But then something happened that made us burst out of those boxes, to refuse to behave in stereotypical fashion. Fifty year olds now shop at Top Shop, bankers and shelf-stackers stand shoulder-to-shoulder at football matches, the young are increasingly seeking a sophisticated life as they sip champagne and expensive whiskey. We’re defined not by our age or wealth or gender but by our values, politics and ambitions.
This has proved something of a headache to the people who try to sell us things, who can no longer rely on what they always knew to be true. Shop Talk discusses the changing nature of consumers and their evolution into new and ever changing 'lifestyle tribes'; and what this means for those who try to part us from our money.
Article URL: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/news/shoptalk/shoptalk_20050222.shtml
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