Will 'Occupy' affect this year's Christmas shopping?

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Posted on 13th Dec 2011 by Scott Goodson in Blog

Here’s a question for you. Do you think a movement like Occupy Wall Street (OWS) can change people’s shopping habits, particularly in the run up to Christmas?

Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, certainly thinks so. She believes that OWS will definitely impact the way Americans buy holiday gifts this year.

She said: "Occupy Wall Street has discouraged the affluent and the aspirational alike from wanting to indulge in conspicuous consumption. If you are in the 1%, you want to go undercover, avoiding extravagant 'bling.' If you are not, you want to avoid the appearance of identifying with this much-maligned group of ultra-affluents."

So if we can forget about over-indulgence this festive season – if people want to appear less greedy - what will they buy instead for their loved ones and in the coming years to follow? Danziger predicts a continued interest in all things practical.

She explained: "Affluents are looking to give gifts of things people really need. Technology fits beautifully in this framework, with great prices and functionality people need in their lives.

"Experiences too have become an attractive gift solution this year, thanks to the many attractive deal-of-the-day offers from Groupon, Living Social and others. These experiences save the gift giver lots of money, all the while maximizing the gift recipient's pleasure."

Of course, there aren’t enough facts to suggest that OWS has discouraged shoppers from over-consuming. We’re only second-guessing these changing consumer attitudes instead of basing them on any hard evidence. That’s why Danziger and Unity Marketing are planning to carry out new research next year, looking at the shopping habits of 1,500 people.

If you’d like to support the research, Unity Marketing is looking for sponsors. Simply fill out their New Gifting Study 2012 sponsorship form.

While we wait to see if Danziger’s predictions are right, we can definitely all agree that there has been a shift in people’s buying behaviour ever since the global economy went into crisis. Whether that is now coupled with an ever-growing movement against consumerism and greed, we’ve yet to find out.

It certainly seems as though more and more people are ‘making do’ and spending their money on ‘experiences’ or practical things rather than ‘stuff’ they don’t actually need.

So if Danziger is right and this movement continues to take hold with people buying less and less, how can brands jump on the back of it ahead of the holidays? How can they make the most of anti-consumerism attitudes? How can you encourage Christmas shoppers to buy your products when they are buying less?

Movement Marketing, that’s how. Because if brands don’t start to look at the changing, consumer landscape and adapt themselves accordingly, they might struggle to survive in 2012.

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