“When faced with this “always-on”, screen-based culture, there comes a time when people want to reconnect with the world around them.” Carrie Hindmarsh chief executive of ad agency M&C Saatchi (Marketingmagazine.co.uk, March 26, 2013)

“Individuals want one-on-one attention, they value a private and personal shopping experience.” Helen Franks, head of commercial leasing at Grosvenor


Description

As a reaction to their fast-paced and always-on lives, consumers are seeking a lifestyle that is rich in human relationships and interactions. They are re-evaluating how much spending time and sharing moments with their loved ones contributes to their personal fulfilment. This cultivation of more meaningful, intimate face time is explained by a combination of lifestyle factors.

They are re-evaluating how much spending time and sharing moments with their loved ones contributes to their personal fulfilment.

First, ubiquitous and more efficient means of communication are making people more connected to each other; second, the world is fast becoming urbanized, as an increasing number of populations are living in close proximity in cities while long-distance relationships are getting more common; this tech-influenced lifestyle enhances the desire to stay physically and humanly connected to others. “We times” are becoming increasingly important and will compensate the multitude of moments when individuals digitally stay in touch. As a result, individuals are re-prioritising their time with their loved ones, leading them to look for rich social experiences whenever possible. People are seeking more conviviality and warmth, not only through shaping and spending time in their homes but also by spending more time cherishing the ones who matter. On the lookout for more warmth and sympathy, consumers are more receptive to brands that show empathy and even some level of informality in their offerings or communication.

Family is the new choice

When asked what’s important in life. 61% of Millennials place family at the top of their priority lists, followed by friends (25%), education (17%), careers/jobs (16%), spouses/partners (13%), and spirituality/religion (13%), according to a study by LifeWay Research. Group travel is becoming easier and cheaper, thus counterbalancing the economic, geographic and digital obstacles for family and friends to be together. In a survey by AAA released in May 2013, one-third of respondents said they planned to take a multigenerational trip within the next 12 months. Of those multigenerational travelers, 25% are traveling in groups of three generations. In the Family Vacations Create Lasting Memories survey conducted in March 2013 by Harris Interactive, children said they enjoy vacation time with parents and grandparents because they feel closer to them (60%) and like to remember stories about what they did with their grandparents (65%).

When asked what’s important in life. 61% of Millennials place family at the top of their priority lists, followed by friends (25%), education (17%), careers/jobs (16%), spouses/partners (13%), and spirituality/religion (13%), according to a study by LifeWay Research.

More generally, group travel has been on the upswing over the last several years and their spending was expected to increase by 5.2% in 2013, according to the Global Business Travel Association. Another factor that is putting family in the front end is the wave of ‘multigenerational homes’ and ‘boomerang kids’ (those young adults who return to the family home after a few years of independence). Tight budgets are definitely driving the concept of living together as one big family, but there is also an attitudinal change here: it is about condensing the family and having that space and time shared. The changes in household formation as a flexible family microcosm reflects the current need for collaboration, sharing and belonging. This is playing out with older divorced people who are buying houses or renting apartments with peers, Boomers who are “right-sizing” their homes to accommodate aging parents or boomerang kids, seniors who favor shared housing over living alone, and so on.

Convivial shopping

Dissatisfied with one-dimensional digital communication, consumers are putting a premium on personal interactions when they go shopping. True connectivity between people is what constitutes rarity today. Shopping is increasingly seen as a social experience, one that is experienced with friends or family. People enjoy spending a good time together and shopping is considered as a fun activity to be shared with others. Inside the store, they are looking for the same level of personal interactions. Besides, in luxury boutiques, affluent shoppers expect intimacy with salespeople; they increasingly require one-to-one shopping experiences to help them navigate the brands and offerings; they demand a better quality face-to-face service when they have issues or questions.

Family and friends remain the most trusted source for shopping decisions, finds a WSL/Strategic Retail survey – 69% of respondents said that family and friends help them choose what to buy, up 13% from 61% last year.

The same expectation occurs with online shopping: even if they deal with a machine, they demand responsive and attentive customer service. Family and friends remain the most trusted source for shopping decisions, finds a WSL/Strategic Retail survey – 69% of respondents said that family and friends help them choose what to buy, up 13% from 61% last year. Next on the list: manufacturer and retailer websites, each used by 55% of respondents.

Featured examples

Go on vacation together

Credit: Groupize.com

Credit: Groupize.com

Apps and third-party services like TripIt for Teams, Triporama, and Groupize are newer technologies designed to help friends go on vacation together. In particular, Flights With Friends was inspired by the difficulty of trying to book a trip for a group of people (friends/family) in different places. The site combines metasearch with real-time social interaction. Groupize is a group booking platform that helps the hotel industry attract group travelers by providing automated shopping, booking, collaboration and planning.
United States of America United States, January 2013

MiniTime

Credit: Familyholidays.fourseasons.com

Credit: Familyholidays.fourseasons.com

Alongside blogs such as Tauck, Preferred Family, My Little Swans, Poshbrood and the Four Seasons’ Have Family Will Travel that all help parents quickly pinpoint the family-friendliest spots, MiniTime is the first family travel and leisure site with recommendations just for your family. The service helps parents plan family fun with travel reviews from families with kids the same age as theirs, provides exclusive family-focused information on accommodations and attractions and gives advice from their own social network and price comparisons to deliver the best deals.
United States of America United States, November 2012

Playground California

Credit: Visitcalifornia.com

Credit: Visitcalifornia.com

Travel company Visit California launched in February 2013 its first dedicated family travel initiative, ‘Playground California’ which puts a strong emphasis on in-state family travel, an especially attractive option for families looking for a quick weekend getaway. The integrated marketing campaign showcases the abundance of family travel experiences available throughout the Golden State. Additional elements include digital advertising, media relations, parent blogger engagement and a comprehensive content integration partnership with Nickelodeon and online radio station Pandora and their ‘Moms who Rock’ series. Combined, the campaign will fully engage head of household travel decision makers – Moms – in the California travel experience.
United States of America United States, February 2013

McDonald’s in China

Credit: Behance.net

Credit: Behance.net

McDonald’s is using local Chinese cultural elements in the design of its Eatery restaurant in Guangzhou to provide a more inclusive hangout space for youth and young adults. The Eatery format, with separate dining, gaming and cafe zones, uses all the brand’s colors of yellow, red, grey and black. The gaming zone is called Magic Table, and includes videogames and board role-playing games. First opened in April 2014 as an experiment, the format was replicated in Shanghai in July 2014 and is planned in other Chinese cities as well. McDonald’s has asked consumers to share their favorite McDonald’s memories on their Weibo social networking account under the topic “Let’s be together”. About 150,000 consumers have participated in the online activity.
China China, April 2014

This is Wholesome by Honey Maid

American food brand Honey Maid launched the ‘This is Wholesome” ad campaign that celebrates the diversity of American families, notably as ‘blended families’. The ad features a family with two dads, an interracial family, a military family, and a single-dad family. The ads explicitly associate these touching portraits with the Honey Maid tag “This is wholesome.” The ad quickly went viral, receiving 1.5 million viewings online within the first day. Earlier this year, Honey Maid aired a 30-second ad featuring everything from a same-sex couple bottle-feeding their son to an interracial couple and their three kids holding hands. Honey Maid embraced the shared value of wholesomeness to evoke a powerful emotional connection with consumers.
United States of America United States, March 2014

The Family Market

Credit: The-family-market.com

Credit: The-family-market.com

The Family Market is a Parisian concept-store dedicated to the whole family, from small to large ones, with an openminded and anti-elitist spirit. The three female founders welcome all members of the family, be it composed, recomposed, nomad, a little cramped – as everyone is in Paris. The multi-generational shop sells designer furniture, and women’s, men’s, kids’ and baby fashion clothes, so that they match each one’s needs and taste. Their selection is quite large and is renewed every two months, in order to stir up visitors’ curiosity and keep their offer appealing to their loyal customers.
France France, December 2013

Soineya

Credit: Soineya.net

Credit: Soineya.net

Opened in September 2012, Soineya is Japan’s first “co-sleeping specialty shop,” where customers can enjoy “the simple and ultimate comfort of sleeping together with someone” for 3,000 yen. In the same vein, the pen brand Pilot conceived a Cuddle corner for Valentine’s Day 2014 in Paris, open for only two days. Six hosts and hostesses welcomed customers, from 6pm to 2am to offer them a cuddle. Customers could choose from six options including a surprising hug, a musical hug or a lighting cuddle.
Japan Japan & France, February 2014

Nabi Tablets

Credit: Nabitablet.com

Credit: Nabitablet.com

Technology is creating new family dynamics – particularly within multi-generational homes, where family members share devices. Fuhu’s Nabi Big Tab 24 is a high-definition Android touch device that’s big enough for your kids and designed to be shared by family members. The Big Tab offers two different operating modes: a ‘nabi’ children’s mode – featuring educational apps and games, as well as books, films and TV shows – and a parent mode, which runs in the same way as a standard Android tablet. The 24-inch version of the tablet will retail for $549 this autumn.
United States of America United States, August 2014

Business & Marketing guidelines

1

Facilitate community grouping and give consumers more reasons to get together. In other words, encourage sharing and belonging amongst consumers.

2

Bring conviviality and intimacy to the shopping experiences by connecting with your customers through events and transformative experiences, which will make your products souvenirs of magical, shared moments.

3

Create unique social and intellectual transactions for your customers, especially ones that can live on in stories around dinner tables, and be shared digitally or through social networks.

4

Enhance in-person customer service and one-on-one attention through tight relationships between customers and sales staff. Organize conversations with either the designers or salespeople. This depth of relationship also enriches a product, imbuing it with a story and a personal connection. While many retailers offer one-on‐one help online, the fact is that hands-on testing, side‐by-side comparisons of merchandise and a friendly salesperson to demonstrate features can go a long way toward making a customer feel comfortable with a purchase.

Summary

  • As a reaction to their fast-paced and always-on lives, consumers are seeking a lifestyle that is rich in human relationships and interpersonal interactions. There is a cultivation of more meaningful, intimate face time.
  • When asked what’s important in life, most American Millennials say family comes first, ahead of friends, education, careers and even religion and they think family life will be their top priority in middle age, according to a study by LifeWay Research.
  • Dissatisfied with one-dimensional digital communication, consumers are putting a premium on personal interactions when they go shopping.
  • In a U.S. survey by AAA released in May 2013, one-third of respondents said they planned to take a multi-generational trip within the next 12 months. Of those multi-generational travelers, 25% are traveling in groups of three generations.

Experts that we recommend

patrick-viveret Patrick Viveret
French philosopher, economist and anti-globalist, Legal Adviser to the Cour des Comptes & author of book De la convivialité, Dialogues sur la société conviviale à venir (La Découverte, 2011)
alain-caille Alain Caillé
French author of book Pour un manifeste du convivialisme (Le Bord de l’eau, 2011)
pierre-rabhi Pierre Rabhi
French farmer, writer & creator of the Colibris movement
ruwen-ogien Ruwen Ogien
French philosopher and family specialist & author of book L’influence de l’odeur des croissants chauds sur la bonté humaine et autres questions de philosophie morale expérimentale (Grasset, 2011)
anne-de-malleray Anne de Malleray
French journalist & author of book La Solitude (10/18, 2013)