Consumer Change in the Mid 70's

INTRODUCTION

For two years or so we've been living through a time of unprecedented economic change. The sheer speed of it has been bewildering, In marketing, the call has been for flexibility and rapid response; the span of vision has become notably shorter.

It may seem rather foolhardy to try to analyse this change, when the analysis may be out of date by the time it's printed. But it's our view that a lot of the changes in consumers and consumption are quite long-term in origin; and that it's more useful to consider the broad trends than the immediate fluctuations, if we are to make the right marketing decisions for the future.

In fact, mid-1976 is a good enough time to review where we stand. We're just past the bottom of the world business cycle, which the U.K. has imported for the last 25 years. Much of the sheer panic at economic events, by both companies and consumers, has subsided. And there are signs that government, management, unions and the public generally all recognise rather more clearly the nature of the economic problems; so that national policies are more based on consent today than they have been for many years. At the very least, economic arguments are being considered rather more from their economic than their political viewpoint.