Even though it’s a major time suck, I love surfing the Internet. Often, entire evenings go by and I’m not really sure what I did, only that it’s after midnight and the battery on my laptop is almost dead.
Then, recently, I read an article about the online habits of millennials and I realized exactly where those lost evenings go.
When it comes to the web, I’m embarrassed to say that I spend my time much like 14- to 34-year-olds. We are browsers. We poke through an endless array of products, read reviews, compare prices but rarely buy anything. It’s highly unproductive. It’s very fun.
In April, The Intelligence Group, a youth-focused research firm, released a survey of 1,300 millennials, nearly half of whom reported that they find the act of browsing for a purchase far more satisfying than actually acquiring the item. In other words, the report concludes, “e-commerce has become its own form of entertainment,” with Americans spending increasingly more time looking at products without making a purchase. The Intelligence Group calls this behavior “fauxsumerism.”
As an enthusiastic fauxsumer myself, I believe that the behavior is in no way limited to younger people, and I see the trend as important for the pool and spa industry to understand.
When I was a child, I wanted a dog and my father wouldn’t let me get one. I thought about it all the time, browsed pet stores, fantasized about different breeds and waged a nonstop begging campaign. By the time my father finally relented, I had spent nearly a year as a dog fauxsumer, and that wish for a puppy had intensified exponentially.
This process happens every time you look at a cool product — say, a pool or spa — but deny it to yourself. You go back the next day and browse features or colors, and the desire strengthens. To that end, I’ve heard many people in the industry say that the average consumer has already spent months researching a pool or spa before they even set foot in a showroom.
If fauxsumers are the wave of the future, then it’s imperative that the industry respond by getting as much content online as possible, especially images, specs and reviews. I’m amazed by the number of pool and spa companies that don’t update their websites, stay active on social media or use Houzz to promote their business.
Along those lines, in this issue you’ll find a great column by Matt Giovanisci on tips for marketing with Pinterest. Enjoy.