Some consumers are becoming motivated to purchase goods pre-release date, predominantly as a status symbol. However, new trends suggest that the reason for early purchase and investment in products, is changing.
- Increasingly, consumers are supporting small business start-ups through crowd- funding websites, particularly those businesses with ethical values. The change is likely to be rapid – Gartner Research suggests that investment will move from $1.6 billion in 2009 to over $6.2 billion in 2013.
- These novel platforms allow customers to invest in brands and products they want to purchase from in the future and align to their values. People appear to be investing more in social entrepreneurships, local businesses, ethical organisations and “green” start-ups. These schemes don’t rely on altruistic donations for funding. Investors often gain shares in the business and receive their dividends by receiving the product/ service they have supported.
- For example, people can buy into their local farm business and receive payback in pork. Or support a technology company aiming to make scientific equipment more accessible in their home town.
Implications and next steps: Investments are likely to offer social benefits by supporting new businesses, raising the profile of social entrepreneurship, and affording people an opportunity to “connect” with and contribute to issues important to them. Ultimately, this trend facilitates citizen empowerment, and is perhaps the embodiment of “big society” in a global setting.