Consumerism has become a huge dominating force within 21st century society, increasing consumption has become a normality for many. Goods and services are being endorsed as desirable goals, however unrealistic they may be to attain.
At some point or other, we all have all been guilty of buying into consumerist items, as we live in a society where we as consumers are constantly being advertised goods. Nonetheless, very little of the time we are informed of the impact consumerism has on society, nature and even ourselves.
It is important that the over-consumption crisis that our society is currently facing is addressed so that we are able to preserve the planet, and us as people. Individually, we can also make small but powerful changes to be able to positively improve the consumerist mindsets of ourselves and our societies.
The impact of social media on consumerism
Undoubtedly, social media is a dominating factor within our everyday lives, we consume mass amounts of media annually from mobiles and smart devices.
We are living in an information age where technology is considered to be a vital part of everyday life. In 2021, it was found that 71% of people were using social media more than ever before, this is heavily due to the pandemic landscape and the increase in people working from home (SproutSocial).
As useful and convenient as social media can be for keeping in touch with friends, family and work, it has ultimately largely become brand based. Significantly, it was found that 91% of retail brands use two or more social media channels as means of advertising (AdWeek). This means that brands are prioritising social media advertising avenues, as means to get their products or services to consumers nationally and worldwide. Algorithms have greatly strengthened over the course of recent years and now timelines and feeds are built around us and our interests, especially where advertisement is concerned.
User-generated content is a large benefactor in the consumerist landscape of social media, we are shown content that we are likely to be interested within.
Moreover, we as individuals are being constantly shown new fashions and trends on social media platforms, especially on the likes of Instagram. Understandably, it is natural to want to keep up with exciting new trends, especially when it's being constantly endorsed to us through our screens. This notion of everchanging trends fuels the fast fashion climate which can be damaging to people and the environment alike.
Counter consumerism movements
As convenient as buying produce, goods and services can be on devices, we should try as much as possible to only do so when necessary as this is what feeds the consumerist mindset.
Be mindful of fast fashion and the consequential impacts this can have on nature, the environment and people generally. If you need new garments, why not consider buying and selling services such as Depop as this way items can be repurposed and used for longer.
It can be something as simple as repairing items that could be worn or used for longer rather than instantly resorting to repurchasing further items. Also, if you need an item for an event why not consider hiring services such as One Wear Freedom which offer sustainable renting services including eco-dry-cleaning amenities
Alternatively, if you’re looking for designer items, businesses such as My Wardrobe HQ and Hurr offer hiring services through the post and even lending services, if you have items lying in your wardrobe which could be of use to others.
Even though it only takes a matter of clicks from viewing an advertisement to actually purchasing products, ask yourself whether or not the purchase is necessary and question if it is a sustainable purchase.
Combat targeted advertising one step at a time by asking yourself these top 5 questions:
Do I need this item of clothing?
Will said item of clothing benefit me?
Will I wear it more than 20 times?
Has been made and produced sustainably?
Is it a timeless item of clothing or will it go out of fashion fast?
As trends continue to drastically change, we as consumers can continue to try to tackle the consumerist lifestyle, which many brands and businesses have adapted, by changing our mindsets when in a position of potentially purchasing.
For more information on consumerism check out further information here.