Consumerism VS Innovation

September 15, 2017 by Innovation for Africa - No Comments

We live in a day and age where marketing and advertising play a major role in influencing us into buying goods. Sometimes we really do need them but most of the time we really don’t. We have developed a culture of buying so much we don’t look to see if what we are buying is actually necessary. We are become subjects to adverts and inserts we see whether it be on TV, or in our peers.

Who we like in terms of TV personalities and celebrities has a direct bearing on our characters. In turn, we would gradually be inclined to dress and adapt to the culture which is being portrayed to us. For most youths these days, the way they dress is linked to what music they listen to and who their favourite artist is. What we fail to realise is that we are becoming a part of a much larger retail strategy than we think. We become subjects to consumerism.

When I talk about consumerism, ideally we are partaking in a culture and lifestyle in which we are constantly buying things because everyone else has them or merely just wanting to have the latest brands, clothing, gadgets, etc. To get  a better understanding of this, the Merriam Webster Dictionary defines consumerism as “the promotion of the consumer’s interests or the theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically desirable and a preoccupation with and an inclination toward the buying of consumer goods”.

Consumerism has taken over the way we manage our finances and has us in bondage. We have become a very materialistic people. We are now encapsulated by wanting to be better than the next person. We have developed a competitive spirit which in turn ruining us. Consequently, we have become vanity slaves. We are now more concerned with buying the latest phone, the newest lip kit, the newest pair of sneakers and the newest laptop.

We have become confined to trends and patterns and we are individualistic in nature. This means the market is now a gross market, which is no longer difficult to identify as we all want the same thing now. This makes me wonder. Are we still generating new ideas? Are we still individual thinkers or we just follow what is set before us?

As we tread along the age of new and better developments, what does this mean for our consumeristic nature. It will be difficult to find our balance and it means that we are losing ourselves along the journey. Creativity is slowly but surely dying right in front of our eyes. Everyone wants the new iPhone, the latest Razer laptop, the new Kylie Lip Kit but instead of refining ourselves and delving into issues which affect us and our existence, we take a  backseat.

However, there is a solution to this seemingly taxing problem. We could flip the script and begin to use consumerism as a way of increasing our innovative instincts and use it to our advantage. By this, we would study trends and patterns in consumption of goods and come up with ways of refining products already on the market either making them more affordable or making them more user friendly and efficient without digging into the customer’s pocket and leaving them penniless.

As society, it is our prerogative to shy away from manipulate the consumerism in us in a way which harnesses innovation and grows ideas and creativity so that we can solve African as well as global problems presented through facets such as consumerism.

Article by @nelson.madzima