Magazine article Marketing

UK Design Should Help to Fulfill This Eastern Promise

Magazine article Marketing

UK Design Should Help to Fulfill This Eastern Promise

Article excerpt

As if to play on our uncertainties, there is a growing band of spin doctors known as 'trend analysts'. Springing from Nostrodamus, by way I suppose of Alvin Toiler, there is of this band an American woman named Faith Popcorn. One of Faith's predictions is that because we all already have too much, the trend is to want less. She puts this view over with the disarming descriptor: "We want more and more less".

While the Calvinist in me wants to agree with her, I cannot really find the evidence. Maybe the case is strong among a narrow base of well-heeled trendies, but tell that to four-fifths of the world who, like Oliver, would like a little more.

It is certainly not the case in my own stamping ground of South-East Asia. There regional economies are growing by double-digit figures per annum. Millions of people are emerging from relative poverty and discovering the seduction of a consumer culture. And while western brands and products need shops and shopping centres to sell them, cars and transport networks need roads and airports. While some articulate groups may want more less, a hundred times that in Asia want more and more more.

Make no mistake about it, Asia is a huge and growing market. Quite sophisticated economies and distribution systems are fuelling a region's desire to catch up in the consumer stakes. Of course, they pay a price, with paddy fields turned into bad buildings, bicycleways turned into snarling traffic jams and, in some places, pollution. But lift your eyes and you see a marvellous industry and energy; people unashamed of their role as consumers. …

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