Urbane (Toni)

Back to CITYSUMERS. Consumption-wise, the fast pace and ever changing nature of urban life guarantees CITYSUMERS an endless number of new and fleeting social connections, experiences and (commercial) temptations. All of which means that CITYSUMERS are addicted to the here-and-now, experiences, choice and freedom, flexibility and rawness, unrestricted opportunity, and yes, the hunt for the Next Big Thing if not the Next Big Story. In fact, urban culture is the culture these days*.

Here are some quick indicators of urbanites’ spending power and behavior:

  • The average Manhattanite household spends 59% of their USD 13,079 food budget on dining out, compared to the average American household that spends only 42% of their USD 6,514 food budget on dining out. (Source: Bundle, May 2010.)
  • Even four years ago, Harris identified ‘Urban Hustlers’ (who comprise 21% of US consumers aged 12-34), spend close to USD 9 billion (10% of their annual spending), on recreational activities. Urban Hustlers are spending, on average, over USD 100 more than the non-urban population monthly, with their overall discretionary spending reaches USD 383 per month. (Source: Harris Interactive, June 2007.)
  • The lifestyle of urban Chinese consumers has changed from a “survive” mentality to an “enjoy life” one, with 54% now pursuing a more fun lifestyle. (Source: GfK Roper, 2010.)
  • Only 17% of Chinese urban dwellers say they are ‘reluctant to spend money’. (Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, August 2010.)

* Not just because of mass urbanization, but also because widespread online access enables remote rural audiences to participate in urban culture.

MATURIALISM obviously comes into play here, too: Constantly exposed to a wide variety of alternative lifestyles and experiences, CITYSUMERS tend to be more open-minded. Just one telling nugget: In August 2010, a Voice of India poll showed that almost a third of Indians in Bangalore and Mumbai support same-sex partnerships, a figure that would have been unheard of only a few years ago**.

All of this means that a large URBANE audience is up for brands that challenge, thrill, titillate, or even shock (just as long as it’s done in the best possible taste ;-). At the very least, brands need to show some personality, loosen up and embrace urban culture, in all its gritty glory. Risky? Yes. But not as risky as being bland.

** No, we’re not suggesting that every CITYSUMER is enthusiastically and overwhelmingly liberal, but as we saw in MATURIALISM, the clear (if gradual) global social trends are towards more tolerant attitudes towards abortion, euthanasia, casual sex, homosexuality, drug use, women’s rights, etc. More diverse living arrangements and the removal of many of the traditional social structures in cities is a big part of this.


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Filed under Secondary Research, Toni, Trends Research

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