ITB 2024 Special Reporting
Consumer Boom?
By Vijay Dandapani ~ Hotelier's outlook on NYC, travel and the industry
Thursday, 7th November 2013
Three different themes to consumption growth recently in the news point to a boom in consumer spending in diverse areas and aspects.

A literal boom in a niche market called 'war-zone tourism' is highlighted in a report in the Financial Times. A leading operator in a segment of the market that is War Zone Tours with a website that features sound clips that unfailingly are a part of war movies but normally unlikely to spur tourism.

Yet, as the FT notes, in the five years since its launch has attracted a growing crowd of middle-aged businessmen who earn in excess of $100,000 per year with its ascendance sparking an expected set of new players. Left unclear is what kind of hotels are on tap in places like Somalia a "destination" for WZT's wealthy patrons.

On a far more substantial level in terms of consumer potential is a recent survey put out by New York based BBMG and Globescan "the rise of nearly 2.5 billion consumers globally who are uniting style, social status and sustainability values to redefine consumption."

Entitled the 2013 Apirational Consumer Index,  the report notes that "more than one-third of consumers globally (36.4%) identify as Aspirationals, defined by their love of shopping (78%), desire for responsible consumption (92%) and their trust in brands to act in the best interest of society (58%).

The study drew from a telephone and in-person survey of 21,492 consumers across 21 international markets conducted in April 2013.

Most tellingly, it pointed to the rise of an astounding 2.5 billion consumers. Some interesting and arguably unexpected findings include the stat that "nearly six in ten Aspirational consumers globally say they "trust global companies to act in the best interest of society" , a notion that appears to go against received wisdom in the West.

Hot off the press is an intriguing by "independent and opinionated trend firm" Trendwatching breifing entitled "Guilt Free Consumption".

The report appears to be a riposte to the "current, epic quest for more aware, more ethical, more sustainable consumerism." Trendwatching rightly notes that it has thus become completely impossible for any individual in near- and fully mature consumer societies to claim ignorance over the havoc his or her consumption is and has been wreaking.

And yet, "consumers are now hungry for a new kind of consumption, one that will allow them to continue to enjoy consumption, yet not worry (or at least worry less) about its negative impact." It may give some pause perhaps to organizations across industries that have been beating the drum on "sustainable" consumption.

Vijay is Chief Operating Officer and part-founder of Apple Core Hotels- a chain of 5 midtown Manhattan hotels offering value and comfort in the heart of the city. Member of the board of Directors - Hotel Association of New York.

Read Vijay's blog HERE
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