CONSUMER TRENDS: Recession Status Symbols by Karlee Weinmann

Even in a crummy economy, Americans are no less image-conscious. But instead of flaunting fancy cars and expensive jewelry, the young and wealthy of the Zuckerberg generation are looking for a more understated affluence and signaling status in new ways. In a reverse-chic movement, they’re taking a fewer-frills approach and placing a higher importance on intangibles – like the mind, charity and personal values – rather than material things. Celebrities of all kinds are jumping on the trend, and of course, strapped Americans are happy to follow…

Number of Twitter Followers
In an age when everyone overshares on the Internet, Twitter has become the key platform for touting ideas, links and inane observations with anyone who cares to read. The number of followers is the new popularity contest, and an inflated number of them is a sign of achievement. Lady GaGa has a phenomenal 20,804,731 followers. Musician and businessman Kanye West has an impressive 7 million plus followers (and counting). Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore has nearly 2.5 million proving that Twitter can create celebrities of its own.



Biking to Work
Rejecting the fancy sports cars of generations past, many high-powered folks have taken to the bike lanes, whether on tricked-out two wheelers or refurbished vintage gems. These cyclists ride with more than the usual bells and back lights: ultra-lightweight frames and fancy wheels or a spendy old-school cruiser are commonplace. CNN host Anderson Cooper rides a lightweight, 27-speed mountain bike on his New York City commute to work. Chloe Sevigny rides a vintage folding Royce Union, which runs around $200 depending on the condition.

Investing in a Tech Start-up
The young and affluent are pouring money into new, tech-based ventures and in the process helping a whole new set of founders become, well, young and affluent. Actor Ashton Kutcher has been an active investor since 2007, dumping dollars into more than a dozen new ventures, including billion-dollar startup foursquare.Singer-actor Justin Timberlake put some of his money into MySpace, convinced he can keep the floundering social network from going the way of ‘N Sync.



Wearing TOMS Shoes
For every pair of shoes this company sells, it gives one to a needy child. Launching as a small startup in 2006, its philanthropic gimmick and shoes that come in every pattern imaginable have propelled it to high end buyers and into the closets of stars like Julia Roberts, Ann Hathaway, Keira Knightley, Scarlett Johansson and Liv Tyler. Wearing TOMS means giving back and being stylish, two hallmarks of today’s elite.



Driving Green
Rather than shelling out more money for big-ticket, high-gas mileage rides, many of today’s affluent drivers opt instead for cheaper, environmentally friendly vehicles. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg blends in on the highway in his Acura, which gets nearly 30 miles to the gallon. Actor Ryan Gosling shows he’s eco-conscious in his black Toyota Prius hybrid.



Yesterday’s Designer Handbag, Today’s Vintage Treasure
Toting around a full-priced designer bag was so 2006. Today, designer bags are still in style, but they’re even hipper if dug out of the sales bin or discovered in near-perfect condition at a thrift store, especially for shoppers who enjoy the chase more than the catch. Finding a purse that was the must-have item 25 years ago gives you bragging rights: it’s more unique, and half the price of your friend’s new designer dud.



Practicing Yoga
Yoga, particularly a specific type done in sweltering 105-degree heat, is the workout for the fashionable (and flexible). The uncomfortable fitness plan has taken hold among the hip set after its inception nearly 40 years ago when an Indian guru named Bikram Choudhury opened a studio in San Francisco, thanks in part to notable yogis like Drew Barrymore and Lady Gaga (who practices in full costume, of course).


Friday, March 16, 2012 · Categories: Consumer Intelligence, Trend Analysis, Fashion, Lifestyle
Mar 18Sunday, 2012

love this.  I need to pump up my tires. 

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