New "networked" consumer more fluid and connected

When futurist Faith Popcorn speaks, people listen! She's predicting that the younger generation will be more ecologically aware and less into hyper-consumption than previous generations. What does that mean for businesses? Read on.

Faith Popcorn, the consumer researcher and futurist, popularized the concept of "cocooning" during the 1980s and 1990s. Now, she's predicting a new identity for 2007: Ubiquitous personalized media technologies are spawning a "networked self," which will shape both consumer marketing and society at large in the years ahead.

"The technological advances of the information age have produced the most powerful tools yet for shaping our collective human destiny," Popcorn's BrainReserve consultancy said in a year-end outlook on new consumer trends that will impact the marketplace.

"The world has simultaneously become more fluid and more connected, one of both infinite possibility and extreme intimacy. As a result, people are turning away from the ego-driven self-aggrandizement that characterized the old era of hyper-consumption."

Popcorn said consumer businesses should understand that the new "networked self" consumers are more ecologically aware than preceding generations. "With this newfound awareness comes a personal sense of responsibility to understand and engage with the whole," she added.