The thought, fictional or not, of that things do not exist without time as a factor, is very interesting for the lifestyle business. The speed of product launches is still on the rise. Yes, we also become more consumers, but the question is can the pace keep rising? In my point of view some of the content in products is already slowing disappearing. If the industry continues to speed up will it then disappear? A bit far out thought, but we have actually seen the beginning of it. A reaction either demands a slow down or a reevaluation of the product chain.
The thing is; we as consumers like new things. We really like new things. For example I dont think I can find anyone who doesn’t like fresh flowers. And this is an often overlooked perspective about consumerism. Why do we consume? A lot of the reason is that we like new things, we aspire and on that behalf we create a need (when we talk beyond need-to-have-products like food etc.). The attraction to newness is a core thing. Our brain simply likes things that are clean, bright, shiny, polished in contrary to things that are used, worn, torn and dirty. But newness is not a constant thing. The shine will fade. It will either fade because of usage or because of a term philosopher Lars Svensson calls cultural erosion. Meaning that the shine fades because something more new has come along. This is what happens in the lifestyle industry and what we call in fashion or on trend. But the faster we add new things the more quickly the shine fades and the value of the product decreases.
This principle is and has been a fundament for the lifestyle industry. The term fashion doesn’t exist without this principle. Without it would just be clothes. And likewise in interior. But when the pace keeps rising the principle, like in the Lucy Movie, begins to erode it self. Newness fatigue is the beginning of that.
An other perspective is that consumers experience newness fatigue, because they get over-exposed to products especially through social media. But the SoMe exposure is badly timed with actual point-of-sale. This consequence is that when the (new!) products hit the stores, they might not seem new anymore to the consumer. The shine has already faded. This has created a need for buy-now acces which in fashion will have a major impact on the product chain (read our other blogpost Can craft cure fashion? for more insight on that).
The rising speed of products is also partly to blame for retails vicious circle of less and less products being sold at full price. Consumers know something else is waiting in the pipeline, so they only have to postpone their needs some weeks, before they can buy the item at a reduced price (or get something else). I know the pressure is on in retail to make business, but again these mechanisms have a negative reinforcement on each other.
So in the future it is going to be crucial to accommodate newness fatigue. To keep the shine to last longer. To keep the “magic” in our products and to try to prevent newness fatigue in order to make more business. or on the contrary prepare you value chain for a even higher pace. This is something we at SPOTT work with. We locate tools and findings and work with lifestyle companies to navigate through trends and consumers in order to make business.