How much are you caught up in consumerism?

I drafted a post several days ago but felt it was more fitting for the end of the year. You will find out why if you check out my blog next week! 

Today, I want to focus on consumerism and what a better time than the Christmas period when most people are buying gifts and enough food to feed the five thousand!

Companies spend a large percentage of their budget on marketing to persuade us to buy their goods and services. Some are needs whilst others are wants. There is a thin line between the two therefore the lines are often blurred. How often have you or a friend uttered;

“I need a holiday” immediately after returning from one

“I need new clothes” despite having a bustling double wardrobe full

I have been guilty of this, especially the first statement. If I had my way, I would travel far more frequently.  My love for travelling is to meet a want not a need.

I need customers to keep my side business afloat and I would definitely class the products I sell as wants (make up and beauty).  I rely on my customers and potential customers’ need to want to enhance their natural beauty.  Without them there would be no business – it is in my best interest to influence their buying. I have worn the make up and taken selfies, shown selfies taken of other women and shared testimonies. 

Does your business meet a want or a need?

What marketing strategies do you use? 

24 thoughts on “How much are you caught up in consumerism?”

  1. I think my business fulfills a want and a need. Dealing with weight loss means working with people on so many different emotional levels. And some clients realized the effect of their lifestyle on their health which becomes a need. And others really just focus on the superficial like fitting into a smaller clothes size which turns it into a want. However, I would say that those with the most commitment tend to be on the need end of the spectrum. They’ve realized they need to make a change for their future well-being.

    Consumerism is tricky. On one end, it seems we’ve become too superficial. On the other, our economy is so dependent on it, especially when it comes to buying for the holidays.


    1. Erica – healthy living could be a need for one person and a want for another. Vanity can lead a person to change their lifestyle or a health warning from the doctor.

      We have definitely become more superficial and this is heavily supported by social media, most of which I use.


  2. It seems that there are two types of consumerism: I’ll call them
    (1) reactive consumerism, which is triggered by marketing and cultural expectations, broadly defined, and
    (2) proactive consumerism, which is based on individual interests and passions (e.g., your love of travel).
    Be wary of the former; engage in the latter as finances and time allow.


  3. Over consumerism was beaten out of me by seven years working in retail management. Ugh.

    I succumb to some marketing as much as the next person, but had a wise friend teach me the lesson of either: 1. wait a week to buy a thing or 2. buy it, but leave it in the bag for a week. If you don’t need it take it back.

    My business. This is a harder question. I’m currently seeking an agent for my cozy mystery novel set in Pittsburgh. Developing my blog/writer’s platform is the challenge for 2016. I need/want to get more subscribers and understand that part of that is better defining my audience and directing the blogs more toward them. Gosh how I hate to stop “musings” on the whims that strike me each week!

    I understand your statement about travel. For me, though, I have learned in the last five years that traveling is a must for my soul. It reaches way beyond want!

    Merry Christmas!


    1. Your friend is definitely on the right.

      In 2016, I would like to build my blog followers and network more on twitter and Facebook.

      I love to travel – this will never change.


  4. I like having a simple life. I am single, I own a home, even though I travel away for work. Having a simple life, gives me options of how to live it. I am not consumed by giving gifts, if I have few to give to.
    As for my business, which is my writing, I am the only one effected. I can decide how much or little to work, because I am the only one effected by that decision.


  5. Hi Phonicia,

    Found your post interesting.

    It is of course a well known fact that the basic tenet of Marketing is about shifting intrinsic, below conscious-level needs to perceived wants. But as Marketers, if we do not remain wedded to authentically finding solutions to genuine customer problems, we will never sustain our business.

    In today’s world of unbridled consumerism, how do show up guided by the principles of Conscious Capitalism? That , to me , is a more important issue.



  6. In what is a very consumption driven society the distinction between wants and needs is blurred. Isn’t in fact one of the goals of marketing to create needs out of wants?


  7. I agree with Donna that at times the lines are blurred. In my coaching there are some areas where people want to improve their lives to feel better, but there are other areas where they need to make changes for their health and well-being. As a result I have to be even more diligent with my messages depending upon the nature of the change someone might want to cultivate. Great discussion Phoenicia!


  8. Interesting way to look at one’s business, whether it meets a need or a want. There are a number of situations where the line between the two may not be that clear, but much of the North American retail business is directed at wants. The post was also a good reminder to think about using the words “I need” more carefully.


  9. I have two businesses, one is more of a want – home organizing is what people want but don’t always get around to getting it. My small business services business is more of a need. This is where most of my clientele are coming to me for. They need help and since it involves their business, they want it sooner than later. The marketing strategy for both is quite different but can overlap sometimes like in topics of organizing your desk, organizing your time, etc… Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


  10. Personally am not caught up in consumerism. Do and buy what I want to do and need whenever it suits me. Have high self esteem and hence don’t feel the need to do and buy things that companies try to make me feel I have to.


  11. Hi Phoenicia,
    My business is freelance writing, and I work for other businesses to help them reach their goals through the written word. I also write a blog that is meant to help people make informed choices about retirement issues, housing, sustainable living, and other topics. I’m not sure whether you would evaluate my business as meeting a want or a need. What are your thoughts?
    Dr Rin Porter


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