For the opening Prosumer Report of 2023, Havas surveyed nearly 13,000 people aged 18 and older in 30 markets across the globe about if we can be happy in a new – and more frugal – world. The goal of this study and report is to explore the idea of what it means to be frugal in our ever-growing world of excess, and how a shift in the culture of commerce can have a positive impact on the world.
Among the key findings:
Our world is in crisis – and we know it
The joy of frugality
Many people, across the world, are turning toward a lifestyle of more conscious consumption. There is a movement toward consuming less, focusing on minimalism, and embracing the sharing economy. Through our research, we found that 79% of Prosumers – and even 67% of mainstream consumers – believe that they could be happy in a more frugal world. It is even framed as an aspiration.
Sacrifice of one vs. the collective movement
There is an issue, however, in the thought that one must give something up in order to live this life of frugality. Coming out the other side of the COVID-19 lockdown, many people are excited to live their lives to the fullest again. But if reducing our travel and consumption are ways in which we help the environment, does that mean we’re still stuck?
The shared thought is that everyone is responsible for causing climate change, with 67% of Prosumers noting that in our survey. But it is also clear that we, as a global community, believe that everyone must play a part of a more frugal world: 91% of Prosumers said that it is necessary that everyone gets involved and shows solidarity.
How can frugality become a joyful and desirable experience?
A more frugal approach to consumption is in the interest of society and the planet. But how feasible is that? And just how far are people prepared to go? Through our report we’ve identified that frugality is about buying better, reducing waste, cutting back, and becoming more self-sufficient.
We’ve discovered what people are happy to do, what they would never do, and even where they believe governments should step in.
Frugality as the new cool
Trends will always drive behavior. People strive to have the new and cool thing – but what if that thing isn’t something you’re buying? What if it is a new attitude you’re adopting? 82% of Prosumers say that they admire people who have made the transition to a more frugal lifestyle. With influencers and change-makers taking up the fight against climate change, we could see a shift into an eco-cool era.
How can brands drive frugality?
Only 8% of Prosumers believe that brands are doing the most that they can to combat climate change; but 84% believe that large companies are better able to make the necessary changes. So, what can brands do to drive this movement?
- Educate the public: Just under 7 in 10 Prosumers consider education key to the fight against climate change. Knowing the impact we have, both positive and negative, is crucial for making informed decisions.
- Make simplicity desirable: A push for this way of living can be bolstered by brand narratives championing simplicity and essentiality, while elevating those who have elected to live more frugally. 74% of Prosumers and mainstream consumers alike agree that what makes them most happy is being satisfied with simple things.
- Create connections to nature: 63% of Prosumers desire a more frugal life because it means living a life closer to nature. The rise of trends like cottagecore amongst the younger generations are signaling a push toward a more “natural life.”
- Connect people: Consuming more mindfully also means rejecting the rat race of the past half century. For most Prosumers, the ability to work less and spend more time with family is part of the appeal of frugal living.