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Havas research has uncovered a historic shift in the consumer mindset. In the mature markets of the western world especially, we are witnessing a broad and fundamental movement away from mindless consumption as people have grown sick of excess and tired of the constant push to accumulate more. The purveyors of hyperconsumerism promised happiness and ease; instead we are seeing record levels of stress and anxiety. Large numbers of people are dissatisfied with the direction in which society is headed and with their own personal lifestyles. They still want MORE, but now they are defining that differently. Not more shiny trifles and mountains of disposable consumer goods, but, rather, more meaning, more deeply felt connections, more substance, and more of a sense of purpose. People are looking to live life in a way that offers longer-lasting satisfactions and pleasures than can be found at the mall.


Research from Havas has uncovered a historic shift in consumer values and behaviors, as people begin to rethink what is important and how they want to live. Drawing on a survey of 5,700 adults in seven markets (Brazil, China, France, Japan, Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States), this report reveals how changes in consumer consciousness are driving people away from the hyperconsumerism of recent decades and toward a more mindful approach to living and consuming. We are witnessing the birth of the New Consumer.

Key characteristics of these New Consumers include:

New Consumers are smarter, more empowered, and more demanding than previous generations of shoppers. They make full use of online tools to connect with others and score the right buys. And they rely on their peers—more than experts—for guidance and support when shopping.

New Consumers are deeply dissatisfied with the status quo and are seeking change in their personal lives and in the world around them. Most believe that society is moving in the wrong direction, and that people have become too shallow and both physically and intellectually lazy. They also worry that people are overly disconnected from the natural world.

New Consumers feel disconnected and even alienated. They are looking for a stronger sense of community and belonging. Fifty-nine percent worry that we are losing the ability to engage in civil debate. Many sometimes feel they don’t have enough close friendships, and most would like to be part of a truly important cause.

New Consumers have resolved to change the status quo and take greater control of their present lives and futures. A primary way in which they will do this is through their consumption choices—their strongest means of power and influence. We are seeing the advent of “proactive mindfulness,” a movement in which people are shopping more mindfully and paying more attention to the environmental and/or social impact of the products they buy, as well as to how and where products are made.

New Consumers are eager to reduce their negative impact on the environment and on other people. They feel good about reducing the amount of waste they create and believe they have a responsibility to censure unethical companies by avoiding their products.

New Consumers are embracing “intelligent simplification.” A large majority (70%) admire people who live simply and are making an effort to do so themselves.

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