NewsThe first major trend of 2020 is the culture of shame. We used to brag about how we could be the first to show the new iPhone to friends and acquaintances. Now we prefer refurbished models or keep our iPhone in use a little longer. We see this culture of shame in all sections and sectors of our consumer behaviour. In this decade we will reach a critical mass of consumers, who plead for a radical change in our consumer behaviour. In an era in which sustainability or sustainabilization (see Futureproved Trendwatchers 2019 trend speech), inequality and social cohesion are high on the agenda, something is picking in the minds of the consumers. The consequences of unbridled consumerism are no longer tenable and that sense of guilt is expressed in all kinds of shame.
Ecoshame is one of the things we will be confronted with in 2020. People are ashamed because they eat too much meat (meat shame), drive too much (car and diesel shame), but also milk and cheese shame appears, because the production of a skin of cheese and a glass of milk would be even more environmentally damaging. In the Netherlands people are already talking about cappuccino cream and yoghurt fear. There is even gas shame, for those who still have a gas boiler and have not replaced it with other eco-friendly heating systems. According to environmentalists, flying is too cheap and we choose to fly too much. From the moment you take the plane twice a year, there is already the threat of flying shame. But there is also pet shame, because our pets are damaging to our environment. Do we also suffer from delivery shame, because we order parcels from Zalando, bol.com, Amazon and other online retailers? Or rather Babyshame, because the world population continues to rise at a furious pace? Other forms of shame include Plastic embarrassment, #Metoo Fear and of course Climate Shame?
In 2020 we will find it cool to say that our clothing is “borrowed” or “upcycled”. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, textile waste has increased by 558% over the last 60 years, from 1.7 million tonnes in 1960 to 11.2 million tonnes in 2019. The fashion industry is now focusing on upcycling and recycling of clothing, as well as setting up rental and subscription formulas. Danish luxury brand Gianni launched Gianni Repeat in September 2019, a platform that allows customers to rent clothing from the label for one to three weeks. In the Netherlands, The Fashion Library has also been a pioneer in this field for years by offering clothing in various subscription formulas.
Research by Arnaud Plantinga shows that shame is more common among people who are struggling financially. He writes this in his dissertation “Poor Psychology: Poverty, Shame and Decision Making”. Poverty is more than a lack of money. It influences people’s behaviour, what they think and feel. 1 in 7 Dutch people between the ages of 18 and 65 indicate to be ashamed of his or her financial situation. Poverty shame is often accompanied by negative psychological effects, such as stress, brooding and a diminished sense of control. This causes them to have less social contact. In addition, this shame is often accompanied by behaviour that can maintain poverty. People in poverty too often spend their money on status-enhancing things instead of spending money on their primary needs. This can create a vicious circle of poverty.
Finally, “Netflix shame” is also appearing today. Research by Energiedirect shows that 29 percent of the Dutch people are considering quitting bingewatching in order to save energy. Why? The energy consumption of the electronic devices in your home has too big an impact on the environment. So the message is: Be more selective in your choice the next time you log on to Netflix or other TV streaming services.