2024 – The Year Of Choices, The Year Of Change

Tuesday, January 16, 2024
Non-linear choices driven by changing behaviour and aided by technology will be the real test this year, says the author, with the added impact of lesser time leading to redrafted lives.

This is true that we as consumers love choices, having many choices gives us a sense of power, and eventually making the choice gives us a sense of empowerment. The ability to navigate the choices and come up with one choice is the basis of consumer marketing.

A choice can even be the very definition of a brand, like a brand is choice.

What is so great about choices?

They have existed, they expand every year, expand exponentially, and so much so that sociologists have even suggested that having too many choices creates a different kind of challenge for the consumers and they tend to keep a much shorter bucket of choices in mind. Much like our phones where we have a separate tab of favorites in the phone book.

No, 2024 will not be the year of expanding choice bucket in the conventional sense. Yes, more brands will get launched. Yes, we will have more to choose from, but the changing world around us will have a very different impact on what we buy, why we buy and how we buy. Critically, the changes and choices will not be easy to navigate.

The difficulty in managing this new reality will come from what can be called ‘Time Poverty’. We as humans have only 24 hours a day, and there is celestial power that can increase or decrease time that is available. Time is finite and time poverty is real. While every new choice divides, time is the factor that keeps the world united.

The world of communication is built on linear choices. The base of linearity is the functional benefit. Soaps wash, perfumes smell, irons remove wrinkles, cars transport, planes transport you faster. This is not going to change. We will have more choices here, we as consumers are adept at navigating this maze.

It’s the non-linear choices that will come up driven by changing behaviour and aided by technology that will be the real test this year. While none of what I am about to point out is radically new, I do think it will take a new form this year.

Today consumers are looking at recrafting their lives, there are different motivations that increase their self worth. No longer are the earlier life milestones of wedding, promotions, family moments and everything that made our social structure valid anymore.

Data suggest that Indians are marrying late, having lesser kids, taking higher loans to buy a car and a house. Each one of this is impacting many categories that would normally not be linear competition.

Getting married late has an impact on a host of categories from white goods to linens to home décor. By being on a dating site, it’s not just the wedding apps that see a decreased adoption, many other categories from jewellery to lingerie to gyms to health foods see a different traction. Increased instances of holidays lead to massive drop in incidence of cooking at home and the impact it has on traditional foods. Add to it the fact that we live in a time poverty world. This forces consumers to try more things as they fit in more things in the time available.

More the choices, lesser the time and a whole lot of redrafted lives.

2024 will see this choice buffet binge and the profession that creates the shortcut for choices will have a massive challenge on its hands.

Happy New Year.

(The author is Co-founder and CSO, Bang in the Middle.)