The Customer of the Future (or We All Live in A Shared Economy)

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Continuing my reading on the rapidly changing customer purchase behaviours, I came across a few interesting articles over the past few days:

  1. The changing work and living spaces of millennials, Gen Z by Henry Skupniewicz
  2. The Future Of Stuff Is Shared Or Rented by Blake Morgan
  3. Customer of the Future Report published by Lippincott

Here are a few of my takeaways from these articles:

Changing work and living spaces:

  • People are not buying stuff that won’t fit into their lives logistically.
  • They are buying or even renting a single chair, instead of an entire set of furniture.
  • The consumption is more use-based rather than want-based.


Future of Stuff is Shared:

  • Modern customers crave freedom instead of being weighed down by possessions
  • The future of stuff is shared or rented


Customer of the Future:

  • Our lives will become increasingly de-located
  • Flexible models of work will be the norm
  • Ownership will yield to experience


Hopefully, the alternate title to this post would have become clear by now. There seems to be a distinct shift from ownership of assets to gaining experiences. This is being facilitated by technology, with many innovative companies offering services that are disrupting the traditional modes of consumption and tapping into this desire.

What does it mean for businesses? 

> Start paying close attention to this trend, in whichever industry you might be and wherever you might be located. I do not think this is a trend restricted to specific geographies or industries. You never know when you are likely to get disrupted!

> Keep asking the fundamental question of ‘What need of the customer am I trying to fulfill?’. And be open to the idea that the fulfillment of the need might not result in a sale of a product.

> What services can I (or would need to) offer that enables people to lead enriching, asset-light lives?

> What aspect of technology would I need to increasingly adopt to stay relevant?

These are times of fascinating and almost unprecedented change. Curiosity and adaptability are going to be key factors that can enable all of us as individuals and organisations adjust and embrace these changes.

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