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“During the last ten years we have witnessed a profound and well-documented shift in the habits and behaviors of American consumers,” writes Harvey Hartman of the Hartman Group in this week’s HartBeat. “I'm referring to the now widespread interest in highly differentiated consumer goods - goods whose purchase and use are driven more by cultural and lifestyle patterns than abject utility. While the seeds driving these patterns can be traced back some 20 or 30 years, it was only in the early 90s that consumers began, en masse, to seek out these specialized, highly differentiated indicators of lifestyle, culture and identity.”

But in 2003, this new paradigm continues to shift, Hartman writes, and it is up to retailers recognize the adapt to the changes.

“As part and parcel of this new paradigm, the ‘mass marketplace’ is being quietly reconfigured. What was once portrayed as a vast, singular ‘market space,’ with room for a small number of competing brands in each product category or channel, is now being recast as a collection of distinct product worlds, themselves capable of supporting a surprisingly wide degree of variation and niche specialization.”
KC's View:
This is an excellent and provocative think-piece worth reading and considering for the future. To read it, go to:

…or click on the HartBeat logo on the right hand side of this page.