Tag Archives: inconspicuous consumption

Brand Dilution

by Sally Applin

A few posts ago, I wrote about “Inconspicuous Consumption” — the idea that people will still consume, if they have the cash, but will try to be stealthy about it and not show off labels and brands.

I think that the next trend regarding consumer goods is “Brand Dilution.”  With the economic situation the way it is, all kinds of luxury goods have been going on sale at rock bottom prices. We’re talking 70% at Saks Fifth Avenue.  The New York Times wrote an article this week describing the sales in detail. When these branded “luxury” goods go on this deep of a discount, do they lose their brand appeal and cachet?

In my opinion, some of the goods, like those made by Prada, have diminished in quality in recent years. Oh their runway couture is pretty well made, but the bags are really just a way to make money off the brand. The bags at 70% off, are finally being sold at their real value.

But the difference with these current sales is that both poorly made “branded” goods and actually well made “luxury” goods are all on the sale block.

If one pays less for something branded as a “luxury” good and it goes on super sale, does the brand still have status?

Trend: For ultimate status, we’re going to be looking beyond the ability to select and purchase from a high end “brand.” Those days are over. Maybe education will become the new status.

©2008-2014 Sally A. Applin. All rights reserved.

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Vieuxveau Pauvre

by Sally Applin

To continue my post on the trend of “inconspicuous consumption” — in retrospect, I think that it’s counterpart is going to be quality. This means that thrifting will likely trump Target/Walmart and the bargain chains because if its made it to thrift, its got to have some quality in the construction that made it last.

When times are tough, and people have limited amounts of money, it seems that the idea of an investment in what one buys to last, becomes important. It isn’t just limited to consumer goods. There is a rise of concern about quality in food. Quality food may take longer to prepare, but what we put in our bodies will be better for us. Quality lasts and quality will help us last. 

The notion of quality as a trend layers over both “inconspicuous consumption” and of “get smaller” and neatly funnels into the eco-mantra “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.”

Through my trend filter, these look like this:

Reduce: get smaller. Buy less, but better quality so it will last. We will see less spending. We will see more Micro Homes.

Reuse: if people can’t afford new quality, they will seek out “old quality” either by thrifting, or home swaps or garage sales. (Another trend taking off for clothing seems to be  working wear goods such as painter’s pants, field coats and other kinds of very durable, high quality, but lower cost, and lower status “inconspicuous consumption” items.)

Recycle: Quality food will lead to more composting, more home gardening, more tuning into the ecosystem. Quality clothing will lead to more sharing, swapping, thrifting as durable goods can last. 

Trend: What’s “new” is the “old” European mindset

©2008-2014 Sally A. Applin. All rights reserved.