Capital consumers?

Melanie Howard
Future Foundation

The more consumers understand the value of their online data, the less they will give it away.

The forecaster's songs are always full of buzzy words and catchy phrasings. Just recently, the Future Foundation has been humming on the riff of Consumer Capital, our latest trend du jour and more importantly a seriously loud trend de l'avenir.

This is a story about what we might call 21 st century consumer rearmament. It has its roots in the following idea. The internet, as a mass commercial and personal experience, is still barely post-pubescent. In its early years, the big, bold pioneer brands were so many benign but purposeful grown-ups, organising the way that virginal netizens everywhere would buy differently, learn differently, communicate differently and indeed live much transformed lives.

This was the dawn of Big Data, an age in which an avalanche of intelligence about past purchases, personal habits, leisure interests and so on could be caught, crunched and converted into highly polished purchasing prompts.