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Three trends in consumer behavior likely to outlast the recession

What have consumers learned from the recession?  More importantly, how is it going to change their buying behavior and what changes will last? 

One thing seems clear: we’ve come to see our former appetite for debt as gluttony.  The Fed says that this is the first time in the last 10 recessions that U.S. household debt has declined. 

Will it last?  According to Trajectory, which forecasts consumer behavior patterns, “the cohort of consumers coming of age in this recession will, like their great-grandparents who lived through the Great Depression, carry the attitudes and behaviors they learn now throughout their lives.”

Trajectory has identified three trends that are being accelerated by the recession and are likely to last beyond it: a demand for simplicity, discretionary thrift (the opposite of conspicuous consumption?) and mercurial consumption, where shoppers empowered by technology and social media quickly change the brands and stores they patronize.  Also, though green consumerism has slowed, it’s expected to regain momentum after the recovery.

These predictions are fairly intuitive and aren’t unique to Trajectory.  Companies updating their marketing strategies – and shouldn’t that be everybody—should factor them into their thinking.

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