Simplicity is the new luxury

Euro consumers2.pngToday’s VUCA landscape (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) is having a profound impact on consumers as well as companies. All of us are grappling with 3 key trends in our lives:

• Life is too busy, particularly for women juggling home and work
• Technology has become too complex for most of us to understand
• The economic outlook is far more uncertain and volatile

Successful companies are already repositioning themselves in response to these trends, as an interesting New York Times article describes. In it, leading marketing guru Marian Salzman highlights how:

“We all have this desire to simplify our lives, but we don’t know how to do it. We envy the time when we had just 3 TV channels to choose from. We envy the man in the grey flannel suit who knew when work started and ended”.

Thus the word ‘simple’ is taking on added power in consumer marketing strategies

• Coke is now selling 13 chilled drinks under the Simply brand
• Time Inc has 2m subscribers to its Real Simple magazine

This is the same insight found by consumer research company Euromonitor, and summarised in the above chart. The consumerism that drove the 1982 – 2007 economic supercycle is disappearing. Instead, simplicity is the new luxury.

In turn, of course, these trends have profound implications for chemical companies, as we discuss in our workshops with Boards and planning groups. They provide wonderful growth opportunities for those prepared to look forward into the future.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. He also serves as a Global Expert for the World Economic Forum. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry and the global economy over the next 12 – 18 months. It looks behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in critical areas such as oil prices, China and Emerging Markets, currencies, autos, housing, economic growth and the environment. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.

One Response to Simplicity is the new luxury

  1. Nitin Takiar 7 August, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    Joining dots from politics to economics to markets to chemicals is an expert task.
    Thanks to you Paul.

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