In a world where consumers are marketed to in every way possible - it’s easy to see how they’re getting overwhelmed. From this sense of information overload a new trend has emerged: minimalism. Minimalism is the concept where people live with fewer material possessions. This growing trend focuses more on experiences with loved ones - rather than making sure you have the latest iPhone or Porsche.
More often than not, minimalists have realised how much ‘stuff and things’ have taken over their lives. The basic premise is once a person stops giving so much attention to material possession they find more time, feel calmer, and find ways to happiness without it coming from purchasing material goods.
Millennials are currently the biggest group of consumers embracing this trend. In this post we look at what minimalism is, who are becoming minimalists, why they are becoming minimalists and how their buying habits are fostering a new breed of brands.
What is minimalism
Minimalism in its simplest form is living a life with only the things you need, not the things you want. There is no finite definition but the common theme amongst minimalists is the reduction of material possessions to then spend more time expanding and enjoying the world and people around you.
But this doesn’t mean plain white walls, no decorations in the home, selling your car etc. It could simply be cleaning out jam-packed cupboards of the things you haven’t used for years and throwing what’s not needed away or selling it on a free local classified website like Gumtree. Or it could be reducing your life down to fitting everything you own in a backpack. Imagine how much time you’d spend enjoying life and not cleaning if you did that!
Who are becoming minimalists
Many different types of people are becoming minimalists. There’s growing evidence millennials are increasingly valuing experience over material possessions. This generation is more focused on spending their money on concerts, travel, cultural events as opposed to spending it on possessions. Other than millennials there are many people reducing their consumerism and spending their money in other places - global nomads to grey nomads to everyday families. Many people are choosing to simplify their lives without realising they are practicing minimalism.
Why are people becoming minimalists
Everyone has their different reasons for becoming a minimalist. It could be people have made all the money they ever wanted, have the best car, the biggest house and the latest new gadgets - yet they’re not content nor happy. Most people are in it to escape the excessive pulls of the life around us. They want to reduce material possessions, reduce consumerism, rid clutter, say goodbye to debt and excess noise and gain meaning back in their lives. With less focus on this comes more time to focus on meaning, purpose, values and joy. And time is the only commodity we can’t buy more of.
How millennial’s buying habits are fostering a new breed of brands
As millennials and other minimalist increasingly buy less there comes a demand for a sharing economy. To meet this demand we’re seeing more and more incredibly innovative technology coming to market. These technology companies act as an enabler for consumers to still get what they need, when they need it, but not necessarily shell out money to have that thing or service permanently. Let’s take a closer look at these companies.
Open Shed lets users rent out their items to people around them. The founders Lisa Fox and Duncan Stewart discovered collaborative consumption in 2010 and opened the website in the years following. Their motto is: We CAN make use of the latest gadgets, still have exciting life experiences and de-clutter our lives at the same time through sharing what we have with other people. We CAN make a difference through being smart about our consumption.
On the website you can borrow anything from a hammer right to a fondue set!
Probably one of the most famous peer sharing services to hit the market is accommodation website Airbnb. Users can sign up and find accommodation in basically all inhabited areas around the globe. Users can also list their place for rent when they’re out of town. This is an incredible way to fund your travel.
Facebook’s group function also works as an incredible tool for people to sell and receive goods secondhand, instead of them being thrown in the garbage. There are buy, swap and sell websites all over the world. Their categories range from everything to specifically swapping only certain brands and goods.
With more than 9 million users worldwide Freecycle promotes passing on your unused possessions on to avoid it ending up in landfill. Just another way people are reducing clutter and spending less!
Gumtree is an Australian community site which enables people to buy, swap and sell their possessions or services online. The classified ads are free to post and most of the time people come to you to pick up the goods. A great way to make cash and move your unused possessions along.
Minimalism isn’t something going away any time soon. And with advancements in technology the sharing economy will only grow. It’s an exciting time to be both a marketer and a consumer in our ever-changing world. If you’re a marketer looking to find out about the latest consumer trends download the 2016 CeBIT Australia Digital Marketing Summary Report today.
What impacts, if any, has the move toward minimalism had on your business? Tell us in the comments below.