The trend towards individual and conscious consumption is not letting up among the social classes with buying power. At lot of time is invested in product selection before each purchase, regardless how banal. After all, a purchase is more than a purchase – it is an expression of personal taste and even makes the purchaser happy, in that they are given the feeling of taking self-determined action. The trend towards comprehensive information is running through (almost) all branches and product categories. Dear L.O.H.A.S, the hipster consumer is coming!
For them, every (!) consumer decision has to be well considered, and product information, user reviews, experts, opinions and stats thoroughly consulted. The most important source of information is the internet, which is also the first point of contact even for large purchases these days.
According to a current Nielsen study, 85 percent of consumers occasionally or regularly search for content from experts on companies and wares. Consumers are even more thankful, when all these strenuous decisions in the jungle of possibilities are taken from them.
The “Besserbüger” are coming
Naturally, it is not just the hipsters who are subject to this phenomenon. But the question of what it actually currently happening there is interesting. The article “Die Besserbürger” from Zeit Magazine offers some interesting answers. According to this article, shopping has become more than product selection; the customer has become their own curator.
» “The milieu in which I live no longer just buys, it selects. One curates one’s possessions” «
Platforms, such as Pinterest, or eBay collections are already focusing on this passion. What is interesting here, is that the tendency to style yourself as a taste expert is no longer limited to designer objects, coffee or olive oil:
» Right up to the last utensils draw there is the question: Is what I am buying well formed? Does it show my good taste? Will my friends like it? Could I maybe even post what I buy? And even if I don’t post it, would it be post worthy? «
Alone a question about the right toothpaste can cause a headache.
How brands react
For consumers, it is obviously no longer “just” about searching for the right things, but for something special in every aspect of life. Things should be small, local and somehow different. Pop-up concepts fit this niche, but could even already have proven themselves to be too conventional.
As a consequence, top brands are making themselves appear smaller than they are. For instance “Fruit of the Loom” has become “Seek No Further” in order to not scare the relevant clientele with a well-known name. Other brands in turn, are removing their large logos. Abercrombie & Fitch for instance, want to do without their conspicuous lettering in the future.
However, it is not necessary to take such drastic measures immediately. The devil is in the details. It is more important to provide comprehensive product information, in order to sate the excessive information requirements of the target group. Above all, information on the manufacturer is required. Convincing product descriptions, which find a compromise between objectivity and authenticity, are just right. Because traders and manufacturers can rarely achieve this balancing act credibly, the integration of user generated content is virtually unavoidable. Experts are also trusted, which is why blogger relations strategies are worthwhile.
Hipster-typical irony should also not be underestimated. Those who manage to stage their own products in videos on Vine or Instagram with humour are already ahead of the competition. Because then even the “hipster consumer” might be inclined to reach for their wallet, if the brand is deemed to be cool enough.