This article originally appeared on MediaPost on May 2, 2016
The American Dream is changing. It started as a statement as the right to the pursuit of happiness within “The Declaration of Independence” and has since been defined by the people.
It has ebbed and flowed through its establishment but has always primarily been focused on materialism. The right to own property, the right to an education, the right to own a home.
After the recession, we saw that it began to shift and become more about making ends meet and being self-sufficient. Since then, it’s continued to evolve.
The Center for the New American Dream believes that the American Dream is re-emphasizing its focus to “more of what really matters, such as creating a meaningful life, contributing to community and society, valuing nature, and spending time with family and friends.”
In essence, the Center is predicting we as a nation go back to the basics, which could be interesting from a CPG perspective when we examine what exactly it means to go back to basics.
It could mean absolutely nothing— that people go on living their life with their buying behavior remaining the same as they live out this dream through interests, hobbies, etc.
On the other hand, it could mean refusing materialism and consumerism. To begin to mitigate the distractors that could inhibit people from “creating a meaningful life.”
We’ve seen this in many forms. Let’s take a closer look at some of these movements and the impact they could have on the CPG industry.
The Tiny House movement is about downsizing your living space by living in a home that is typically less than 300 square feet.
Potential Implication: Fewer products and a demand for more multi-purpose products, like Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap, that can used for things cross category—from home cleaning to hygiene.
The Zero Waste movement, which is about redesigning your life in a way that enables you to create no waste that would usually go to a landfill.
Potential Implication: More bulk products to eliminate unnecessary packaging and/or biodegradable packaging.
The Minimalism movement, which is again about downgrading but not necessarily tied to space. It’s about removing anything from your life that isn’t necessary or bringing you happiness.
Potential Implication: Yet again, fewer products. Within the cleaning aisle in particular, the number of SKUs is overwhelming. More claims keep popping up from manufacturers to make their product more competitive within the market, which leads to more options. Consumers are opting for the simpler, more familiar products instead.
The DIY movement. Thanks, Pinterest. This is about making your own versus buying CPG products.
Potential Implication: Fewer packaged goods, seeing a trend? Consumers are rejecting CPG altogether, favoring instead to make their own products with the items they already have in their pantries.
What do you think? How do you see this shift away from materialism impacting the CPG industry?