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Trading Places? Gen Y Lifestyle Trends in Emerging and Mature Markets

November 2012

By Claire Brooks

Trading Places? Gen Y Lifestyle Trends in Emerging and Mature Markets 

We asked our GlobalCulture Blog℠ Correspondents to tell us about the trends that have impacted their lives most over the last couple of years. Comparing posts from mature consumer markets in the US or Europe and emerging markets, there is a curious global reversal in consumer priorities. 

In India, China and Brazil, for example, the emphasis is on expressing individuality through fashion, cosmetics and liquor in ways that feel like a late-90’s déjà vu.  Meanwhile, austerity-hit consumers in Italy are celebrating creative recycling and ad campaigns featuring the “Unemployee of the Year."

Here are a few things to look out for in the city posts.

High Tech and Individual
China’s Gen Y is losing the taste for luxury logos, and turning to small, independent local brands. They mix and match, instead of aspiring to be dressed in head-to-toe, designer imports. In India, online shopping has opened up fashion and cosmetic choices for women of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds. In the US, urban creative professionals are over the novelty of flash-marketing sites, like Ideeli and Groupon, but are using social media apps to curate and share individual lifestyle narratives.

Idealism versus Consumerism
Within emerging markets, divergent consumption priorities are evident. A Brazilian fashion brand appeals to chic, A-class women by encapsulating the environmentally aware, urban lifestyle. Meanwhile, the soap opera Avenida Brasil, which features have-it-all lifestyles to which consumers from the rapidly expanding C-class can aspire (instead of A-class scenarios), attracts over 45mm viewers per episode, and is a mecca for consumer brand advertisers. 

Alternative Transportation
A recent article in The Economist described the notion of "peak car," the decline in car ownership and miles driven, as well as the aspiration of car ownership among young consumers in established markets. We see this in our blogs. Even in LA, fitness apps are encouraging Angelenos to leave the car at home. Biking proves to be the best way to navigate both Italian and Indian streets, while couture equipment destroys the stereotype that it’s meant for the less affluent. Vintage Italian cars are also getting internal tech lifts, in an effort to recreate the lost glamour of the automobile.

More lifestyle trends to come from Russia, Germany, Britain and India in December.

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