Attitudes to “things” are changing: 4 jobs -

Attitudes to “things” are changing: 4 jobs

As attitudes toward “things” change, people are increasingly looking to improve their decisions about what and how they buy and use goods.

A new report highlights the new business opportunities these consumer trends represent, and uncovers areas for innovation.

The report, Stuff in Flux 2: A Playbook for Circular Innovation, describes a “leading” group — estimated at 19 percent from the United States, 13 percent in Canada — looking to make better consumption decisions. They are distinguished by their “curiosity, openness, desire to learn about what is new in the world around them” and the confidence that their actions can influence others directly and indirectly.

The authors of the report, Rosemary Cooper and Lindsey Boyle, circular distribution consultants, who wrote it on the basis of the research methodology developed by the management consulting firm Alice Labs, said that the attitudes and behaviors of this group are “leading” and the demand for circular products will increase in the next three to five years.

“There is already a huge market demand for things like reuse and repair, which could grow rapidly in the coming years,” Cooper advised. “Don’t wait for customers to come and ask.”

Key observations of the trend setters include: deepening understanding of the differences between excessive and purposeful consumption; decrease in excitement about consumption; and increasing awareness of resource scarcity and material flows. They also increasingly intend to buy from brands with trusted environmental and social impact.

Here are four corporate “market opportunities,” each with a significant market demand. The report is also supported by general population surveys:

Products that last reliably for a long time

An increasing number of consumers prioritize things that can be reliably used for a long time and repaired if necessary. These consumers feel burdened with unused items and their purchasing behavior is disciplined, prioritizing buying from companies that provide ongoing care and support for their merchandise, and convenient channels to give products a second life.

Goods related to nature

Fifty-eight percent of global consumers surveyed agree that they would rather spend time in nature than time shopping. They feel inspired by nature rather than consumed and appreciate things that help them connect with nature, natural materials, and their communities.

Simple and fun stuff

Objects that are fun to use, innovative or unique, provide simple solutions to everyday problems and engage all the senses often result in very tangible, positive and personal feedback. The research shows a specific demand for joy without feeling guilty, which means looking for things made with purpose and responsibility versus feeling left out.

Easy ways to share, repair, reuse and resell

There is a growing awareness among consumers regarding where things come from, where they go, and how to drive a more sustainable flow of things. Consumers focus on the flow of things, prioritizing used purchases and seeking access and ownership opportunities that reduce their physical footprint, buying from companies that enable circular models such as share, repair, reuse and resale.

The report, and its focus on growing and projected demand, supports investment in and expansion of circular products and businesses – not only to increase sales but to be competitive.

“We’ve heard in our research that leading consumers who make up mass markets want companies to jump into the circular space, but if they don’t do something to actually prevent waste, and continue that circular journey, they’re losing our trust,” Cooper said.

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