Marketing to Minimalists

As consumers look to lead less cluttered and materialist lives, brands will need to create offerings that not only deliver minimalism, but also facilitate a simpler and more streamlined way of life. From limiting choice to offering higher quality, brands will need to rethink the deeper, fundamental structures of their offer.

Buy Less, Buy Better

Still feeling the ripple effect of the financial crash in 2008, purchasing decisions have taken on a more rational sensibility with focus placed on quality over quantity. Many consumers are looking to buy fewer, high quality items that will last, rather than waste their money on quick solutions that won’t.

Consumer perspective is also shifting as they stop associating ownership with happiness. Rather than collecting stuff, people are collecting experiences and seeking access. Recognising the intrinsic value of these intangible things, they are rejecting the burden of possessions. Add to this the rising rent costs for less space in urban areas, and minimalism as a way of life emerges as a functional necessity as much as an emotional choice.

Godmother: Encouraging consumers to just get the good one, this Seattle-based service provides a radically different kind of #unshopping experience.

Have Less, Feel Better

Studies by the University of California and Princeton University have shown a direct link between cluttered lifestyles and poor mental health. As a result, decluttering has become a wellness trend, not only for Western consumers, but on a global scale with 2 in 3 people around the world believing they would be better off if they lived more simply, and 1 in 4 saying that they would be happier if they owned fewer things (Euro RSCG Worldwide). As a result, brands have found that they can truly connect with consumers when they help facilitate an easier, simpler and less materialistic way of life.

Sister City: A minimalist micro-hotel concept billed as “an experiment in essentialism” opens next year in NY. Designed by Atelier Ace.

Less Choice, Better Value

Part of this drive for simplification and minimalism comes from the over abundance of choice. Our digital lives have opened up endless purchasing possibilities. Overwhelmed, consumers are now gravitating towards brand that limit choice or have a very specific offering. This thirst for simplicity has become a commercial imperative for brands with 63% of consumers willing to pay more for a simpler experience (Siegel + Gale).

Viande & Chef: The Parisian butchers only stock one animal at a time and will not order another until the carcass has been fully used, with every cut of meat sold or turned into sausages.

What this means for brands:

  1. Peak Stuff: Many brands have already started to realise that material consumption is failing. Look to see how your brand can stay connected with consumers long after purchase, and foster a more meaningful relationship.
  2. Anti-choice: Consumers are overwhelmed by choice throughout their digital lives. How can your brand cut through the over abundance of choice and deliver a more minimal offering?
  3. Obsolescence backlash: Consumers are rejecting built-in obsolescence in favour of high quality basics. Can your brand develop a more long-term strategy, and deliver products that have longevity at the core of their existence?
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