It's very clear to me that consumer's habits have changed, and will stay changed long after the economy recovers. A March article in the NYT announced that conspicuous consumption was one of the recession's casualties. The ethos of showing off material wealth is dying faster than gas guzzlers, diamond crusted watches and McMansions. It's just not cool anymore, let alone financially prudent. In my career as a speaker, I've seen this mentality hit corporate meetings too. Those that exist are scaled down, un-rewarding and often bare bones to avoid any scrutiny (even non TARP companies).
How, then, do we reward ourselves? What will replace retail shopping therapy and corporate extravagance? In my view, the replacement will be a private experience. A nice dinner with impeccable service. A spa day. Paying a little more for better/faster/nicer service. Investing in home repairs that bring in sunlight, music and beauty. A return to Starbucks for a carmel-mach-whatever (small please). Having a company offsite in a rustic but tucked away location -- with a full day devoted to community service. I'm seeing this already, it's a very natural response to the times.
Yes, last fall we sacrificed the experience for simple-services in an effort to survive the storm. But as the clouds part, and the world still consider conspicuous consumption as the root of the problem, I'm seeing the consumer start to spend against experiences. One note: making a difference is an engaging experience. When you spend $ with a green, community focused or cause connected company, you have an emotional experience that fills you with purchase.
Today, I'm playing around with my fave new Mac App (Peak LE). It allows me to record audio, edit and deliver via my Mac with no external devices required.
Just a minute ago, I recorded today's audio post for you. The subject: How To Write A Book That Works. Often we think that books should be timely, unique, needed or perfect for the times. That is not the formula for success. Listen to my short recording and you'll pick up the two secrets to writing a best seller:
1. Write what you know
2. Show us who you are