Consumerism in this Modern Age

Our human brains are wired in such a way that when it comes to things we want vs things we need… there is a part of our brain that sometimes don’t make much sense, and we unfortunately find hard to control.

The thing is however, marketers are aware of that part of our brains… and have used that to their advantage. We are subconsciously drawn to things that require continuity… so buying something that is part of a collection is a YES. Shopping at a particular store that is offering loyalty rewards or promotional freebies (such as the current Coles Mini Collectable craze, which I will write about next) is also a YES. Playing a game that may seem silly and pointless, but with the ability to level up or unlock achievements or gather more resources, or even as simply as “looking pretty” is also a YES. Take Candy Crush Saga for example, some may argue the game can be some sort of “brain exercise” as you practice your problem solving skills. But really, it is all about levelling up and getting the highest score.. and watching the candies explode gives you a weird sense of satisfaction. People get addicted to playing games on their phones and consoles because they like winning, and they like feeling like they achieved something. People like crafting because they like making things and admiring their finished product.. again “pretty things”. People get addicted to smoking or drinking alcohol or sex because those things make them feel good.

People are constantly on their phones because they are unable to detach from the one device that connects them to the world without physically putting in the effort to be everywhere. Why wouldn’t you be addicted to that one device that holds all your friends, your family, your music, your calendar, your photos, your videos, and all the information you would ever need about anything?? Think about it, once upon a time to read something you would need to pick up a book or a newspaper or a magazine. To look at your photos, you will have to look at your photo albums or framed pictures. To talk to your family, you will have to actually go see them or call them. To watch a movie, you have to physically go to a video store and rent a movie.. or go to the cinema. To buy second hand goods, you have to actually go to a garage sale or op shop, or check the Classified section of the paper. Those were multiple channels for multiple purposes that have now been reduced to one single device, where you can do ALL THAT AND MORE, on your phone. Mindblowing. Why wouldn’t we be spending that much time on our phones when EVERYTHING is on our phones. Personal relationships, work, play, shop, learn, entertainment… every aspect of our lives conveniently streamlined into one device.

I do however agree that too much technology could make us lose touch with the world. So I do believe that sometimes, we need to go back to how things were… it may sound unnecessary and somewhat even inefficient, but our lives are not on the screen. Plus, it is good to mix things up. Go out and get some fresh air. Look up and see the world through your own eyes, not through someone else’s camera lens. Our technology devices help enhance our productivity, but they can also help waste a lot of time if we are not being careful. We just need to really be mindful of what we’re doing whenever we get screen time, is this really going to enhance my life or take away the time that could be used better.

Which leads us back to things we want vs things we need.

Why do we constantly seek to upgrade our phones (even when our existing phones are perfectly functional and in good condition), buy a new car, buy new clothes, buy new toys, buy a new house, etc? Consumerism is so powerful especially in this day and age of technology, where buying things have never been easier. Online shopping has indeed revolutionised the way we spend our money, we don’t even have to leave our homes to spend our money. In fact, just going to the other end of the spectrum now, we don’t even have to leave our homes to EARN our money. Pfft. Mind blown again.

The answer is simple. Despite having everything we want and need, we always want MORE. We want better, newer and bigger, not necessarily more in the sense of having multiple of each things… more of an upgrade. Discard the old, bring in the new. People may have learnt to hoard less, so instead of accumulating more things, people have gotten better at culling old and pre-loved things in exchange for newer, shinier things. So where do all the old stuff go?

Most end up in the wasteland (which is a whole other topic and problem entirely for another day) and some may end up in op shops, where people like me like to go to try and find a second hand bargain. Most recently, they end up for sale on Facebook Marketplace, eBay and Gumtree! I don’t like buying expensive things, but I do tend to spend money unnecessarily on things I don’t really need, simply because I think it is a bargain. Not a good habit either, and I am sure I am not alone!

Basically, with all the information so readily available via the digital media these days, and with a captive audience who are constantly on their digital devices, it is no wonder that businesses and marketers today have pretty much shifted all their efforts to reach their target markets online. If you are still doing things the “old skool” way, you are possibly missing out on revenue that could be generated by doing business online. Digital marketing firms can assist you in implementing the right online marketing strategy, increase your awareness through Social Media and online campaigns, and improve your branding by establishing your core messaging to your target markets. Why wouldn’t you get onboard when you see proof of your captive audience presented in statistics reports such as this:


Now if you would please excuse me, I need to make myself a cup of coffee and have lunch outside and enjoy the beautiful sunshine before getting back to the limited screen time I DO get while my kids are at school! #TryingVeryHardToMaintainAGoodBalance

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