Today’s Consumer: Know Which One You Are Dealing With

In today’s retail landscape, multicultural consumers are transforming the U.S. mainstream. Expressive and inclusive, they maintain their cultural heritage while being part of the new mainstreams. Media-savvy and socially empowered, these consumers possess the freedom to mix and match endless choices and products to suit this duality in lifestyles and tastes.

Given an abundance of options, consumers over-index on a wide range of products and services. This contributes to a growing desire for a custom experience as they are making more meaningful connections with purchases and expressing values and personality through the items they buy.

Recent research led by The Plumb Club identified 4 categories of the contemporary multicultural consumer and the styles they gravitate towards.

The Reflexive
Reflexive consumers are driven by things they can connect to, both emotionally and physically. This can most easily be identified through their style: a sense of creativity shines through in the contrast between sharp and structured and soft and feminine. Ultimately, however, these style elements come together in perfect harmony, conveying a sense of individualism that looks and feels good, and allows a sense of control over life.

Reflexives’ preferred style theme can be classified as “Soft Deco.” In jewelry, Art Deco is a perennial favorite, but the style is taking an updated approach. Modern pieces show linear, simple lines and softer geometries. Circles, triangles and rectangles are seen in necklaces, stud earrings and rings, often with negative space to keep designs light. This is popular amongst consumers who are interested in building their jewelry wardrobe to layer pieces and create unique looks.

The Custodian
Custodians most often draw inspiration from the wisdom of nature, and the knowledge of ancient practices and fascinating cultures. They have a growing interest in the mystical, emotional and the irrational, with a fixation on fantasy, storytelling and a sense of romance.

A custodian’s repertoire might include objects with medieval or east-meets-west touches. Antique furniture, historical artifacts and other collectibles can be found in their homes.

“Storytelling” jewelry pieces allow this consumer to portray personal style- to narrate their own story. The use of energy symbols, like the sun, can convey spirituality; lockets tell their own unique stories and give opportunity to demonstrate what one wishes to preserve; royal symbols and insignias can tell a tale of personal heritage.

The Globalist
The Globalist influence taps into the idea of “glocalizations,” an idea that gives importance to meaning and origin. Having an eye for detail, color, quality materials and pattern, their surroundings incorporate high craftsmanship and skill, including elements such as embroidery, beading, fringing and luxurious fabrics.

Creating a sense of home and belonging anywhere comes easy to them, down to their work spaces and social circles. They are drawn to modern “rural” lifestyles that combine real-life relationships with internet connectivity.

The Globalist puts forth an “Exotic Flair”, a display of grandeur and vibrancy. Statement making colors and bold design populate their jewelry collections, with materials like gold, enamel, ceramic and brilliant colored stones being used to create whimsical and organic looking pieces. They often often associate themselves, metaphorically, with nature and living creatures, like insects and bugs, to make a statement. Uneven effects also take residence in their preferred jewelry aesthetic, such as mismatched or single earrings and asymmetric necklaces, to represent the intentional unbalance of this community.

The Digitalist
Always connected and technologically savvy, the Digitalist boasts an extremely open mindset: everything can be re-thought or “re-coded”. Digitalists live in a future where digital and physical worlds seamlessly merge, where there are no societal pressures and they can be exactly who they want to be. Their virtual identities are reflections of their aspirational life, and they focus on ideas that inspire and content that is hyper-customized.

Digitalists emphasize looking sharp and modern, opting for tech-focused wearables and cutting-edge materials. They are ready to try new things- but are highly interactive and connected, doing research and consulting forums online in order to make educated purchases.

This consumer gravitates towards personalization and self-expression, seeking designs that are futuristic and convey a personal message through symbols, such as stars, or words.


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