A few years ago, during the unveiling of the latest iteration of the iPhone, the sight of young individuals burning the midnight oil and queuing fervently to acquire it remains vivid, evoking the prevailing consumer mindset of that era. However, discernible transformations have emerged with the advent of the iPhone 15’s release in September of this year. The renowned Apple flagship store on Shanghai’s Nanjing East Road, once awash with early morning queues, now stands devoid of its customary throngs.
A plethora of innovative lexicon pertaining to consumerism has proliferated. Previously, terms such as “retaliatory consumption” and “countercyclical consumption” held sway. Now, the advent of “reverse consumption” among young people has once again augmented our vocabulary. The notion of “reverse consumption” entails a shift in consumer inclination, as individuals are no longer inclined to splurge on exorbitant brand premiums; instead, they prioritize a modest and utilitarian consumption experience. Whereas in the past it was a matter of “acquiring the priciest rather than the most suitable,” or subscribing to the adage of “you get what you pay for,” present-day discernment manifests in meticulous budgeting, wherein affordability and cost-effectiveness reign supreme.
Amidst the fervor surrounding the “reverse consumption” phenomenon, a cacophony of voices emerges. Some opine, “You are increasingly estranged from the consumption ethos of today’s youth.” Others contend, “Is this not simply a regression in consumption standards?” Amidst this chorus of opinions, the author posits three statements, encapsulating both the essence of the “reverse consumption” trend and the positive inspiration it imparts.
Attentiveness towards “reverse consumption” should encompass an appreciation for the life philosophies harbored by young people. It has been suggested that traditional consumption fixates on commodities, consumerism fixates on symbols, while “reverse consumption” fixates on individuals themselves. In truth, “reverse consumption” does not advocate for abstinence or frugality; rather, it underscores the burgeoning emphasis young individuals place on selfhood. They are indifferent to price differentials, instead prioritizing their own needs, preferences, and a willingness to invest in their own personal expression and affections.
The author contends that “reverse consumption” represents a market-driven behavior, congruent with the laws of commerce. It is not impulsive but rather rational, and thus warrants comprehension, support, and scientific guidance.
Whilst consumption holds undeniable significance, the creation of an improved consumption milieu takes precedence. Consumption serves as a reflection of humanity’s yearning for an enhanced existence, encapsulating the collective aspirations of individuals at a given moment. “Reverse consumption” harbors apprehensions pertaining to the specter of “cheapness without quality.” Quality reigns supreme. Merchants must enhance the caliber of their offerings, embracing sincerity over gimmickry. Simultaneously, governing bodies must assume the mantle of responsible custodians and service providers, guiding and enhancing product quality through the establishment of robust systems and regulations, thus fostering a salubrious environment for public consumption.
We must remain cognizant of the affirmative value inherent in “reverse consumption,” while simultaneously exercising caution to prevent it from devolving into mere sartorial affectation. The concept of “reverse consumption” assists young individuals in cultivating independent and mature values, whilst also aiding in the development of a product ecosystem that aligns harmoniously with societal progress and needs, thereby engendering a wider societal commitment to diligence, frugality, and the preservation of traditional customs and aesthetics.
Nevertheless, the core of the market lies in the interplay between supply and demand. Accordingly, merchants, platforms, and industrial chains will undertake corresponding adjustments and undergo restructuring in response to consumers’ evolving orientations and purchasing power. While attending to the phenomenon of “reverse consumption,” equal attention must be directed towards the underlying challenges it unveils, such as the high cost of living and the formidable pressures faced by young individuals. In the long run, a multifaceted approach, encompassing policies aimed at stabilizing growth, fortifying employment, and fostering consumption, will be introduced to provide young people with an improved platform and conducive conditions, thereby ensuring the continued flourishing of consumption amidst an ever-changing landscape.