2017 Consumer Trends

윤정애, 김경민, 문보은l승인2017.03.06l수정2017.03.06 11:58l352호 1면

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▲ 10 keywords for Chicken Run.

 2017 is the year of the rooster and according to Seoul National University’s Consumer Trend Analysis Center; “Chicken Run” is the acronym that will best describe consumer habits for the year ahead.

 The letter C is for “C’mon, YOLO”, or more specifically, Come On, You Only Live Once. YOLO means seek out new experiences that can change your life and ultimately lead to a more fulfilling existence.  Like its predecessors, “seize the day”, or put simply, “take risks”, the expression was adopted by entrepreneurs with an eye on risk taking to create greater personal wealth.

 H stands for ”Heading to B+ Premium”. There are 2 kinds of B+ premium. One is where consumers look for average products, but delivered from a more quality environment. The other is where the product is actually available for a lower price elsewhere, but a new spin on the product, improving the item’s functionality, enables producers to sell it at a higher price. Cold brew coffee is an example of this type of B+ premium product. While there are cheaper brands leading the coffee industry, cold brew coffee has seen much success, despite its high price.

 The letter I stands for “I am the pick-me generation” describing the lives of 20 somethings today. The “Pick Me Generation” is a generation of young, who are arguably narcissistic, sheltered and fully supported by their parents. They are used to praise and protection from their parents, but the outside world is not as easy as they think. However, the 20 somethings are awakening, for the first time, to the realities of the world. Some may want to give up in the face of an unknown future, but most keep at it, and manage to adapt and find pleasure in real life. Once the original disappointment passes, 20 somethings adapt to their environment in a pragmatic way, developing successful marketing ideas that address the realities faced by their generation, with products and services as simple as car-sharing. They represent a new group of optimistic entrepreneurs that may even surprise the generations that preceded them.

 The fourth letter in the acronym, C, represents “Calm-tech, felt but not seen.” Calm-Tech is a form of IT shared seamlessly and without fanfare. Smart Homes are an example of Calm-Tech. It accounts for improved convenience, as the users’ needs are addressed seamlessly, directly improving their experience with the product or service.

 K refers to the “Key to success: Sales”. This means that during a low growth period, salespeople should find ways to reach consumers before their competitors do. Thus, multi-channel marketing and smart sales are the most effective means to access the wallet of the Korean customer and companies should secure the necessary human resources that best address their need to enhance their competitive power.

 The sixth letter, E, stands for the “Era of loners” or people who feel more comfortable by themselves rather than the in the company of others. Solo consumption is the new direction for market demand.  From food to drinks and movie tickets, selling enough for one person is today’s reality, as people actually enjoy their voluntary isolation.

 The N in the Chicken Run acronym stands for “No give up, No live up”. It represents the “Bye-Buy sensation” that evolved from Japan’s Satori generation. It means people do not need to save things like cards, receipts and yearbooks. If you want new products, you should get rid of the old ones first.

 R stands for “Rebuilding Consumertopia”. Consumers are not just buying products put in front of them.  They are also creating them with shifting needs and demands. This shows the importance and mutual dependence of the relationship between supplier or producer and the consumer. This interdependence led to the development of new consumer-led platform such as Kakao Taxi.

 U or “User Experience Matters” means marketing is shifting to not only sell the product, but also the experience, for example the Star field Hanam shopping complex or Pokémon Go. These are cases where companies are trying to meet consumer demand for products with added user experience value.

 The last letter, N stands for “No one backs you up” and refers to being on your own. There is a growing distrust in fellow humans resulting from rising rates of crime, economic recessions and constant corruption. The bond between people and our community spirit is weakening, so cooperating with consumers can be a means to restore our confidence in society and uniting us through solidarity.

As you can see, occupying the center of the 2017 consumer trend are the needs of the 20 somethings. The Dankook Herald (DKH) interviewed Lim Hee-su, a researcher in a 20 somethings laboratory called the ‘Univ20’. Univ20 published a 2017 report entitled; “The 20’s Trend Report” and we asked Ms. Lim what we could learn from it.

 She said, “20 somethings are a part of the generation of the individual.” This means they do not want pretty or fancy things, but rather items that appeal to their own individual character. It’s a spin off from the YOLO or Carpediem lifestyle, where consumers are not concerned about the opinions of others or the price of the item.  They are more concerned about the personal satisfaction they derive from it. One such example is the do it yourself, where consumer produce the results themselves, deriving satisfaction from the good or service, but also from completing the project on their own. Do it yourself (DIY) services such as Laundromats, and self-serve gas stations are examples of this industry. Lim says the reason why the 20 somethings want that lifestyle is “because they want to feel some happiness in their unstable life, through these small luxuries.”

 The other trend for consumers is the shift from demand for luxury items to more common or small things. For example, there are some hot places, like ‘Mang-one dong’, and ‘Sung-su dong’ that are not situated downtown, but rather in local neighborhoods. Nowadays, many people love the idea of the neighborhood store. Also, fashion trends are increasingly focused on comfort and common things like home-wear styles. Even the media is focusing on the ordinary routines of the average person.  Gone are the days of the Cinderella stories from the drama called ‘Age of Youth’. People pay more attention these days to stories of someone’s real experiences rather than someone’s success.

 People become adults and the main agents of economic activity, in their twenties. The 20 somethings love new experiences and adapt more readily to change. These are the driving forces of the new consumer trend and the reason why these 20 somethings are the main focus of it. Therefore, in order to understand the 2017 consumer trend, we need to understand the needs of the 20 somethings.  In short, they are seeking out self-satisfaction, while being sympathetic to others.

 Professor Kim Nan-do who published the book, Trend Korea 2017, emphasized the ’B+ Premium’ lifestyle. People need to consume things even if when they have limited funds, so they are increasingly demanding practical and cost-effective goods and services. That rising demand will make that lifestyle choice more common. The trend was identified by analyzing consumer behavior, thoughts and the current social atmosphere. This proves consumer trends reflect the social atmosphere of the day. Nobody can know exactly what the future entails, but with some research and insight, we can at least try to predict it.

 


윤정애, 김경민, 문보은  dankookherald@gmail.com
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