Ken Hughes blends his understanding of consumer & cyber psychology, digital anthropology, behavioral economics and retail futurology to explore the needs of the new consumer. Credit: Ken Hughes
Retail

The Captive Economy: What next for the Covid-19 consumer

Ken Hughes is an authority on consumer and shopper behavior. According to him we now live in what he has decided to name “The Captive Economy”–one where we as participants and consumers are limited in terms of how we are to live our lives.

Ken Hughes thinks it is slowly dawning on most of us that things may never quite be the same again. We are entering a new era, one that has no fixed point as its destination. We are like the adventurous explorers of old, except that instead of sailing out hoping to discover exciting new territories, we are just hoping to hold on to our own. None of us have any real idea how this is all going to play out.

Depending on where you live and what state of lock-down you find yourself in, for most life has changed fundamentally over the past weeks and for the near future. Welcome to “The Captive Economy”. The Chinese word for crisisis made up of two characters, one representing danger, the other opportunity. In every significant change (and indeed life) there will be winners and losers, those that will spot opportunity in the chaos and those that will be side-swiped by it.

Economic 404 Error

In terms of losers, significant segments of our economies have been brought to their knees in recent weeks. If the travel industry was a smartphone, it has long since accepted it’s 1’% battery remaining’ message on its screen. Airlines and travel agents will have to wait a few months to find a charging point, and even then, they’ll probably have the wrong charger. Hotels, restaurants, bars, cinemas, theaters, sports events all sit empty. The thousands of other ancillary support businesses that support them also closed. The shutters have come down street by street. We are experiencing an Economic 404 Error–Economy Not Found.

Here are some of Hughes’ thoughts on how we can make sense of this and what this Captive Economy could mean for us all: The Captive Economy

Sign up for our ACROSS Newsletter. Subscribe to ACROSS Magazine.

Retail MORE

The urgency of getting «localism-on-steroids»

Many on the European continent seem to think that we live in a free world, underpinned by free market economics, and that our comparative wealth is unassailable. But the market that we now operate in is anything but free. Retail is perhaps the sector in which this is most searingly obvious. It all boils down to this: Between which entities should money flow take place? The trick must surely be to ensure that the money flow stays here. But how do you compete with global e-commerce?

Trend Accelerator Corona: The New Normality

What kind of experience are consumers looking for today? How important is the digital world? Is sustainability still relevant?

ACROSS Retail Talks focus on the outlet center industry

The online event was dedicated to the Covid-19-related question: European Outlets–back to normal? A large and prominent expert audience followed the discussion.

DIY is trendy: “Kreativmarkt Hamburg” opens at Quarree Wandsbek

Even though many things are changing in times of corona, the renovation of Quarree Wandsbek in Hamburg continues and even big stores with more than 800 sq m have reopened. Their product ranges already expanded, as “Kreativmarkt Hamburg” signed its new lease agreement in the middle of the crisis.

Successful premiere of the ACROSS Retail Talks Online

Five points emerged at this event that focused on the problems of lease payments in connection with Covid-19. A large and very prominent expert audience followed this online discussion closely.

More courage, more creativity

Corona is rapidly changing the world of retail. Shopping centers also experience these changes. Operators and tenants are facing far-reaching changes. Especially the severely affected fashion industry will accelerate these changes.