Euro RSCG Uncovers Historic Shift Among Consumers

Growing Discontent with Mindless Consumption and Social Isolation Is Driving Profound Changes in Attitudes and Behaviors

Jun 15, 2010, 13:00 ET from Euro RSCG

NEW YORK, June 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Research from leading global communications company Euro RSCG Worldwide is showing a historic shift in consumer values and behaviors, as people begin to rethink what is important and how they want to live. Analyzing the findings of its survey of 5,700 adults in seven markets (Brazil, China, France, Japan, Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States), the company 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. The results of the New Consumer study were released this week in a white paper and presentation on

In their personal lives, people are fed up with today's dumbed-down culture and surface-level interactions; they are craving a more meaningful and satisfying approach to life.  

  • In the Western markets surveyed, a majority of the samples believe society is moving in the wrong direction. This concern runs particularly high in France (70% agreement), the U.S. (66%), and the U.K. (63%).  
  • 69% of the global sample worry that society has become too shallow, focusing too much on things that don't really matter. Again, agreement is strongest in the U.S. (79%), France (77%), and U.K. (75%), although a majority in each of the seven markets agreed.  
  • Six in ten respondents believe we, as a society, have become intellectually lazy, while nearly seven in ten believe we are physically lazy.
  • 59% worry that people have become too disconnected from the natural world. This feeling is particularly prevalent in China (70%), Japan (65%), Brazil (64%), and the U.S. (60%).
  • A majority (51%) worry that digital communication is weakening human bonds.

In their consumer lives, people have grown weary of disposable goods, excess consumption, and endless attempts to move up to nicer cars, bigger homes, and the latest in everything; instead, they are finding value in downsizing and "substance shopping" -- a shift with important implications for marketers and brands.

  • 67% of the global sample believe most of us would be better off if we lived more simply -- with the highest scores coming from the U.S. (78%), China (72%), and the U.K. and Brazil (both at 68%).
  • Whereas 70% respect/admire people who live simply, just 19% feel the same about people who live a "high-luxury lifestyle." Only in China and Brazil do a sizeable minority (35% and 31%, respectively) claim to admire people who live luxuriously, but even in those markets more than twice as many respondents admire people who live the simple life.
  • Signaling one aspect of the simplicity they seek, 68% of the sample (81% in China and 78% in France) said they no longer want lots of "bells and whistles" on the products they buy; they would rather just have the functions they really need.
  • Four in ten respondents have adopted or thought about adopting a slower lifestyle.

"For some years now, we have been seeing signs of discontent with our culture of hyperconsumerism," said Marian Salzman, president of Euro RSCG Worldwide PR, North America. "These signs have ranged from the Slow Food and Buy Local movements to the mainstreaming of eco-consciousness. In the developed markets of the West especially, people are tired of the emptiness of MORE. What they want more of doesn't come in a shopping bag: They want to feel more connected to other people and to higher-minded goals. They want to live a life filled with more meaning and less excessive accumulation. For the first time in quite a while, the phrase 'Less is more' is striking a strong chord with people."

As part of this new mindset, people are rethinking every aspect of their consumption, from what and why to where they buy:

  • 72% of the global sample (80% in the U.S.) are shopping more carefully and mindfully than they used to.
  • A majority in every market but the Netherlands and Japan are paying more attention than in the past to the environmental and/or social impact of the products they buy.
  • 57% say it makes them feel good to support local producers, artisans, and manufacturers.
  • Seven in ten (87% in the U.S.) say saving money makes them feel good about themselves, and just under half (48%) don't intend to go back to their old shopping patterns even when the economy rebounds.

"As marketers, it is our job to help our clients grow their businesses and brands in a way that is both profitable and future focused," said Naomi Troni, global chief marketing officer of Euro RSCG Worldwide. "Our explorations into the New Consumer have demonstrated to us that the consumption triggers of old will no longer be successful in terms of activating consumption and building brand loyalty. Instead, we and our clients must develop product portfolios and communications approaches connected to the new values people crave, including community, simplicity, sustainability, responsibility, and rootedness."  

To access "The New Consumer in the Era of Mindful Spending" white paper and presentation, as well as other materials based on the study, visit

About Euro RSCG Worldwide

Euro RSCG Worldwide is a leading integrated marketing communications agency and was the first agency to be named Global Agency of the Year by both Advertising Age and Campaign in the same year. Euro RSCG is made up of 233 offices in 75 countries and provides advertising, marketing, corporate communications, and digital and social media solutions to clients including Air France, BNP Paribas, Charles Schwab, Citigroup, Danone Group, Heineken USA, IBM, Jaguar, Kraft Foods, Lacoste, L'Oreal, Merck, PSA Peugeot, and sanofi-aventis. Euro RSCG Worldwide is the largest unit of Havas, a world leader in communications (Euronext: HAV.PA) (Paris: HAV.PA). Visit to learn more about the agency and its capabilities.


Eric Edge

Global Chief Communications Officer

Euro RSCG Worldwide

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