Simple living, or “minimalism” as it is often referred to, is not a new philosophy. Individuals and cultures around the world have been practicing it for centuries, both out of necessity and as a voluntary or spiritual practice.
“The Minimal Maximist” made USA Today’s top 13 trends for 2013 – referring to those concerned with maximizing their life by living minimally. We are re-entering an era where quality is more important to consumers than quantity.
The largest demo embracing this trend is young, urban, tech-savvy twenty-somethings that embrace a “less is more” attitude. Ironically (or not) they are coming into their own in a world at odds with that of their Boomer parents, who lived in the culture of consumerism and a time with a “more is more” mentality.
Currently the marketplace overwhelms consumers with options. Consumers can’t even shop for groceries simply anymore – there are a multitude of brands staring back from the shelves, competing for consideration. It is no surprise that in the world of too-many choices, consumers are retreating and valuing simplicity.
So how can your brand appeal to minimalist consumers?
Think negatively! Show your customers how you can help them eliminate (or, at the very least, minimize) some of the complexity and excess in their lives. A few good examples of companies that are capitalizing on this trend:
AirBnB is an online travel booking service that allows consumers to find cost-effective overnight travel accommodations (like an extra room in someone’s home, or an unoccupied RV) and also post spaces they have available for rent. By connecting consumers with extra space to those with minimal needs – at a low rate – this company has found success and a following from practical consumers.
This car-sharing company filled a void in the marketplace. Making life simpler for consumers without cars – now with easy-to-use apps and a simple rent-by-the-hour model – Zipcar use has skyrocketed in recent years, especially among young, urban Millennials.
From business model to product design to retail architecture, this home goods retailer embraces minimalism. Consumers are attracted to the sleek, simple designs and the high value/low cost of functional, practical goods…even though those prices are possible because consumers assemble the items themselves.
Have any insights of your own on how to market to minimalists? Know any other brands doing it well? Feel free to comment!