“Everybody is nervous, really nervous. I think we are looking for protection. Almost like the Jetsons, we want to walk around in a little bubble. We are moving toward that.” Faith Popcorn who coined the term “cocooning” in 1981 (usatoday.com, February 18, 2013)


Description

Cocooning is experiencing a revival. Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the world has seemed politically and economically unstable and risky, people have been feeling vulnerable, wanting to get away and refocus on their own nest. The notion of ‘home’ is becoming more and more about a sanctuary to find peace. More individuals are retreating into their homes and socializing less often in public. Thanks to always-on wireless Internet connectivity and bigger, better TVs that reproduce pixel-perfect high-definition video, cocooning is entering a new evolutionary stage.

The notion of ‘home’ is becoming more and more about a sanctuary to find peace. More individuals are retreating into their homes and socializing less often in public.

Consumers are staying home more, watching movies delivered via cable, satellite, Internet or disc, eating in and transforming their apartments and houses into a shelter from the daily social storm. Stressed-out consumers’ proactive pursuit of serenity is helping them maintain health and productivity in all areas of life, and they expect brands to support that goal. There is a clear need for consumers to surround themselves with nurturing and calming influences — to establish an aura of well-being in all areas of life to help them cope with daily stresses, big and small. Cocooning reflects a desire to “shut off” and insulate oneself from the wider world. This more deliberate retreat into the home means the home itself becomes a more sophisticated hub for an expanding share of consumption occasions. Consumers also feel protected in their own homes, which is especially significant during recessionary times when insecurity and instability are prominent social themes. People consider their home as a refuge where they feel safe and secured.

Cocooning reflects a desire to “shut off” and insulate oneself from the wider world. This more deliberate retreat into the home means the home itself becomes a more sophisticated hub for an expanding share of consumption occasions.

In-home experiences

Consumers are finding it much easier to recreate traditional out-of-home experiences from the comfort of their own homes amid the proliferation of products offering “professional quality” and consumer experiences more commonly associated with out-of-home channels. As a consequence, people are doing far more from home now than in the past – and they are doing it with added sophistication. A recent JPMorgan Chase analysis of credit card spending shows that consumers with Chase Freedom credit cards spent significantly more (65%) on electronics such as TVs and tablets during the last three months of 2012 than during the same period the year before. Overall, consumers spent 2% more during the fourth quarter of 2012 than a year before, but spent less on hotels (-21%), car rentals (-26%), restaurants (-16%) and tolls (-8%). Most need to return to the essentials in life, mainly having dinner at home, enjoying cooking and eating, spending time with family members, being healthy and reducing excessive consumption. Eating in happens more often in the majority of countries – with a focus on Europe due the economic downturn – especially because of budget constraints. It is more economical to prepare a large common meal for several people than to go to a restaurant every day.

A recent JPMorgan Chase analysis of credit card spending shows that consumers with Chase Freedom credit cards spent significantly more (65%) on electronics such as TVs and tablets during the last three months of 2012 than during the same period the year before. Overall, consumers spent 2% more during the fourth quarter of 2012 than a year before, but spent less on hotels (-21%), car rentals (-26%), restaurants (-16%) and tolls (-8%).

Also, people entertain more at home, be it by reading, watching TV, playing music, playing cards, hosting friends or other activities, provoking a rise in sales of tablets and books. The number of iBooks and e-Books sold is expected to dramatically increase in the near term while films are moving from theaters into homes more quickly via on-demand or pay-TV services. Moreover, the “heavy home entertainment cocooners” spend nearly $300 each month on pay TV, Internet service, video games, on-demand video, music, books, newspapers and magazines, according to consulting and research firm Frank N. Magid Associates. Then, when the same work can be done from home, expensive office space is eliminated, and the high cost of commuting, travel, wardrobe, meals, lodging and per diem is reduced. Workers are happier because they eat better, sleep better, and have more flexibility in their schedules. They appreciate the opportunity to multitask and the extra time available to pursue special interests, recreation, exercise and family because they can keep more of the money they earn.

Interiors get more personal

The home is regaining great importance in consumers’ minds and lives: they are focusing their attention and efforts on redefining the meaning of their interiors. Despite the hit given by the recession; consumers are moving forward with optimism, creativity and a stronger understanding of what home really means on a personal level. According to an American Express Spending and Saving Tracker report, 30% of home improvers are tackling projects to add value to their homes and 33% embark on renovations because they want a space that reflects their personal style. But whatever their motivation, the report notes that 63% of homeowners plan to spend an average of $3,300 remodeling their interiors. As they spend more time at home, people want to feel absolutely safe and secure there.

According to an American Express Spending and Saving Tracker report, 30% of home improvers are tackling projects to add value to their homes and 33% embark on renovations because they want a space that reflects their personal style. But whatever their motivation, the report notes that 63% of homeowners plan to spend an average of $3,300 remodeling their interiors.

Smart and connected objects are getting more systemic into a growing number of spaces to offer greater access, security and control. On the other hand, people consider that their interiors reflect their personality as well as their social status. Because they grant it more importance, they spend more time there themselves or with friends, and are taking greater care of the appearance of their interior. Design furniture and interior decoration sales are soaring, TV shows around the topic are flourishing, and DIY projects are getting highly popular. There have never been this many opportunities and options to tailor one’s interior to one’s personal needs and tastes. People are also increasingly identifying with a set of “learning” and “exploratory” values, craving ideas and concepts that are new, inspiring and otherwise “smart.”

Featured examples

“July 17 dinner at Home”

Credit: Benlai.com

Credit: Benlai.com

Chinese online retailer Benlai organized the campaign “July 17 Dinner at Home”, aiming at encouraging consumers to cook “simple meals” at home rather than dining out. The store made it easy for consumers to prepare their meals themselves by offering pre-packed ready-to-cook ingredients. The trick is that “July 17″ is homophonous to “eat” in Chinese. As such, some online users went further in suggesting that it should be named as the day to dine at home.
China China, July 2013

CityHome

Play video

As people spend more time in their homes, MIT’s recent project aims to help those who live in small apartments feel more comfortable by making their space more liveable. CityHome, by MIT Media Lab’s Changing Places group, is essentially a mechanical box stowing a bed which can be turned into a dining room table, kitchen surface, a cooking range, a closet, and multipurpose storage. Through gestures, touch, and voice control, each element can be called forth from the cube. The entire module can move a few feet each way, extending or compressing a room at will.
United States of America United States, May 2014

Chez moi

Credit: Chez Moi’s Facebook page

Credit: Chez Moi’s Facebook page

Shopping at home is now possible since the opening of Tokyo-based Fika, a residence that has been turned into an exhibition and retail space during weekends. More recently, Paris-based concept store “Chez moi” now allows people to do their shopping not in a store but in a house. A young French entrepreneur makes shoppers feel like guests in his (boutique) flat, where everything is for sale.
Japan Japan & France, July 2014

Tricycle House & Garden

Credit: Archdaily.com

Credit: Archdaily.com

To help middle-class Chinese get access to private home ownership, an agency called People’s Architecture Office has designed an alternative house. The result is the Tricycle House and Tricycle Garden, a paired mobile fully equipped home and garden plot mounted on modified three-wheelers, which are man-powered allowing off-the-grid living. Made with specific plastic, the house is an accordion-shaped, expandable temporary shelter. According to the designers, “single family homes can be affordable and sustainable, parking lots are not wasted at night, and traffic jams are acceptable.”
China China, December 2012

Skyhouse

From now on, kids no longer have to go out of their homes to access activities usually found outdoors. The Skyhouse is a New York-based loft that has been turned into a giant playing ground for kids. Architect David Hotson designed this million-dollar playground with the aim to give kids the ultimate outdoor experience. The SkyHouse occupies the top four floors of a skyscraper in Lower Manhattan. It sports a 50-foot climbing wall in the living room, and an 80-foot metal slide that snakes its way from the attic to the ground floor.
United States of America United States, March 2013

Business & Marketing guidelines

1

Play a leading role in facilitating consumers’ cocooning wishes by providing a sense of security, simplifying complex or time- consuming tasks, bringing third spaces inside the home, etc.

2

Deliver intelligently designed and packaged products and services that not only perform against price and quality but also can be easily used or consumed inside the home, in order to encourage regular use.

3

Develop functional products that also boast single-serve appliances and sustainable packaging solutions.

4

Use websites, smartphones and online social media to mine new customers instead of sticking to the traditional visibility on high streets, where people spend less time than before.

Summary

  • As the world seems politically and economically highly unstable and risky, people feel vulnerable, wanting to get away and refocus on their own nest. The notion of ‘home’ is becoming more and more about a place to find sanctuary and peace.
  • Consumers are finding it much easier to recreate traditional out-of-home experiences from the comfort of their own homes amid the proliferation of products offering “professional quality” and consumer experiences more commonly associated with out-of-home channels.
  • A recent JPMorgan Chase analysis of credit card spending shows that consumers with Chase Freedom credit cards spent significantly more (65%) on electronics such as TVs and tablets during the last three months of 2012 than during the same period the year before. Overall, consumers spent 2% more during the fourth quarter of 2012 than a year before, but spent less on hotels (-21%), car rentals (-26%), restaurants (-16%) and tolls (-8%).
  • People are focusing their attention and efforts on redefining the meaning of their interiors. Despite being hit by the recession,; they are moving forward with optimism, creativity and a stronger understanding of what home really means on a personal level.

Experts that we recommend

philippe-corrot Philippe Corrot & Adrien Nussenbaum
Founders of retail chain Nature & Découvertes
mike-snider Mike Snider
American technology and entertainment journalist at USA Today
jean-viard Jean Viard
French sociologist, futurist & author of book Nouveau portrait de la France : La société des modes de vie (Aube, 2011)