Consumer Observations – J to R

Written by Dan Solkin

If you have read the first consumer observations article (here), you will know that this initiative began with a team shopping trip, where we identified twenty-six unique consumer behaviours, one for each letter of the alphabet. We have already reported back on letters A through to I, so we pick up where we left off, with letters J through to R.

J was for juggling; to cope with by adroitly balancing several activities. The interesting thing about this behaviour was that it was observable both physically and mentally. Physically this might mean balancing a coffee whilst browsing the aisles at the pharmacy, or even holding a toddler whilst shopping for new clothes. Mentally we have to use our cognitive dexterity, compiling shopping lists, switching between shopping missions (shoes for work, gift for dad), or even jumping back and forth between online tabs. We have got so good at this that we don’t give ourselves credit for how well we flit between ideas without even noticing.

M was for matching, and not just on an item by item level. For example, it might be straight forward for a shopper to match a new rug with their carpet and furniture, but subconsciously consumers are matching that rug to everything they own. Our collective possessions say more about us than we realise as each one is chosen by us and therefore is matched to our personality. We can use research to understand how consumers match products to their personality using segmentations, a methodology we specialise in at RDSi.

We ended this round with R for recycling, a very pertinent topic in the current climate and an active ingredient in the rise of citizenship. Citizens are different from consumers, as where consumers just buy stuff, citizens participate. They buy with conscience and consume with ethical consideration. Citizens understand the importance of reducing waste and reusing materials, whether that be plastics, food or even energy. Chances are, that if you are making extra efforts to reduce your waste, or going out of your way to recycle, then you too are transitioning from consumer to citizen. Read our article here.

Here’s the full run down of the recent Observed Behaviours:


Juggling: To cope with by adroitly balancing (several activities)

Knowing: The state of being aware or informed

Learning: Knowledge acquired through study, experience or being taught

Matching: Corresponding in pattern, colour, or design; complementary

Needing: Require something because it is essential or very important rather than just desirable

Ordering: Request something to be made, supplied or served

Paying: Give someone money that is due for work done, goods received, or a debt is incurred

Queuing: To wait in line for your turn

Recycling: The action or process of converting waste into reusable material


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