One of the results of a changing economy is what the new austerity has wrought upon the American public. It seems that the trendy “go-go-consumption” trends have turned on a dime and now traditional priorities are winning the day. This is especially true when we discuss the holiday season this year.
A recently released study by Sears, and reported in Marketing Daily suggests that; “Some 90% of those it surveyed say that because of the challenging economy, they are more focused on celebrating family traditions.”
Other studies are suggesting that more than 75% of Americans are realizing that connecting with traditional family activities is what will make them happier during the holidays.
New family traditions are also a high priority, and the Sears study suggests that group gift giving activities like Secret Santa gift exchanges will be a priority this year. Setting spending limits on these gift opportunities is also an important consideration during tight financial times, and the study suggests that 63% of us will do just that. Gift exchange formats also reduce the overall gift purchasing volume needed among the family, saving even more resources.
Some marketers are skeptical that this new traditionalism will have staying power, once the recession is past and better times arrive. But it is possible that the rise in social networks and the fall in expendable income will alter family trends forever.
One trendy industry is going to really benefit from these traditional family leanings. That would be social media, and some web-based mimics which provide traditional experiences for family members. Facebook has positioning itself as the alternative solution to actually driving to Grandmas house for Thanksgiving. Especially for those who can’t afford the fuel this year. Images and comments are not a perfect substitute for the taste of turkey, but at least it is a connection to the traditions of the past. As more learn the systems and find them to be acceptable substitutes, the mimics will become the new traditions for family gathering. Online solutions break down distance constraints and expand the connections far beyond what was possible in Grandma’s confined living room.
The social activities like White Elephant parties or Yankee Swaps can now combine traditional family gift sharing and conversation, without spending money on fuel or travel. These online mimics provide, at least in part, the family feeling that would be lost by not being able to show up in person.
So the economic realities of today are building a desire to reconnect with the traditions of the past, while creating the systems that will become the trends of the future.