Growing affluence and the ability to source what we want when we want it has allowed us to shift from being bargain shoppers buying branded commodities to becoming mini-connoisseurs, flexing our taste with a thousand little indulgences that set us apart from others. The Internet facilitates this trend.
The hidden effect of the internet?
The Henley centre’s Planning for Consumer Change survey has tracked British consumer attitudes for 20 years and has been a leading indicator of changing party political perceptions in the UK. One key question asks whether the quality of life in the UK is improved by ‘looking after themselves’ or by ‘looking after the communities interests’. ‘Community’ climbed ahead of ‘ourselves’ in 1994 and has stayed there since but the gap between the two responses has been narrowing since 2000 and for the first time in over a decade, this year people put themselves rather than the community first. Is the internet making us all a bit more sled -centred and (dare I say it) selfish?