tv Documentary RT December 1, 2013 9:29am-10:01am EST
forget how to survive the many temptations and pressures of the holiday season without causing it to your finances onto your relationship to discuss that i'm now joined by environmental psychologist and consumer behavior guru on the hill thank you very much for your time sir now the tradition of giving gifts is usually thought of as something voluntary something that is nineteen pounds social relationships social interactions but i think it is it's almost become an obligation if you fail to come up with gifts for a new year all christmas you may suffer a certain social consequences i wonder how much of that is due to the moguls of consumerism. i guess would benefit from filling this pressure to buy something even if it's something that is still. being a good gift gift giver is giving the tokens of your feelings toward someone else
and. it isn't the amount of money that you spend it is the thought that goes into the purchase yeah i agree with you but i think if you go around shopping malls. you know pretty much all around the world in a couple of weeks prior to christmas or the new year you see a lot of people who are really stressed they feel this pressure to come out with a gift they want this gift to be in a very special for their loved one but ultimately they're just under very heavy burden of. getting anything rather than offering i think what the what the problem is is that many many people would like to spend rather than think. and it is. full of the gift that often has the most emotional impact but what if you fail to come on for a nice present for you know a person that you care about. and you know it could be due to lack of time due to
the lack of. money of whatever of but i think that person would be. i think what is portland in our gift given process is. the palette of choices that it isn't just giving something that could be giving an experience it could be giving something that's consumable hopefully you're giving something that somebody is actually going to use and appreciate but yes certainly in our modern era people are often spending money that they don't have and spending it on things they don't need to accomplish what they haven't really thought through i think what you've been talking about is primarily from the position of somebody who gives the gift and will receive the gift but i think there is also one very important player here and these are merchants who need us to spend
that money and if i'm not mistaking those take weeks the thanksgiving and christmas in the united states account for roughly twenty percent of. my experience has been that during that period of time people are much less rational when they shop precisely because of all the pressure they don't have the time to do their homework they don't have the time to compare prices and i think this hype will certainly benefit sailors and an american we think of the act of being a merchant in the twenty first century is being a player in a bar fight where everybody is competing with everybody else for the customer's discretionary expenditure what makes the holiday season so interesting being a merchant is that many of your most important customers are novices where it where where it comes to your product in some very challenging season. for merchants and
marketers i wonder if you could talk about this tradition of giving gifts in the first place is it still relevant. to the present day realities pretty much everybody can afford to buy whatever he or she means for himself i mean is the goal of the purpose of giving gift as a trend as a condition still the same as it used to be in the past well let's look at the origins of gift giving which is that giving a gift is a way of showing somebody an emotion that you have trouble are to kill leading to them in an era where many of us are coming on the catering by email and tents and we often don't have the opportunity to look at somebody and don't care about you i respect you i love you and we look
to. as a representation of that. notion. in a time where we are more physically and emotionally separated that concept of an icon has imminently more power and eminently less relevant to the reality of the situation now but on the other hand there is the traditional gift certificates and it's especially popular in the united states that has made some inroads in russia but so far no very successfully and when you look at that from a psychological perspective it's essentially i think it's. good to me of the child that we discussed previously is that you simply have to come out. that a certain time it is often recognizing you're in articulateness to be able to pick something out and wreck a good thing that you need a place keeper speaking of. choices if i found that one of the most popular gifts
in europe. it's not a perfect. when you think about it it seems like a safe option but at the same time from consumer behavior we know about people have a very high sounds a floyd. matic so i wonder if after all such a good idea to give somebody it's not except for her family without knowing what they are so it's real tough as someone who does a lot of business for the medics in the street we know that our relationship to fragrance is changing. as women spend more time working the habits of wearing a heavy fragrance are claimed as more of us who work in open as opposed to closed offices and as people are much more conscious of their allergic
lease responses to such we tend often to bond with a fragrance early in our lives and stay with it even even though our noses actually be bald as we get old so it doesn't make sense to actually. perform as a gift it seems to me a very risky option a potential candidate for great gifting i want you to ricky good sized at the giving of a fragrance isn't just about the smell it does often about the symbol of the bottle that sits out in a public place and you may look at that bottle and not use it very often but you remember where it came from and the occasion that you got it i already mentioned the americans are some of the most generous gift givers. and i was surprised to find out that. some of the most frugal christmas shoppers live in the north
atlantic it's a country with a relatively high looking for a person but their people spend less than two hundred per person on various gifts and when you think about that the netherlands is the least to be the country that is one of the most socially progressive in the world they are the first to recognize gay marriage they believe to be at the forefront of social change around the world so it doesn't mean that sooner or later we will all have to adopt these very practical no. giving. trends follow housing trends and that when you live in smaller spaces and smaller houses you have to be much more careful about what you bring in the front door and what you take out the back door one of the issues with. americans is that often we we have the luxury of space big houses we have big houses we have big storage
areas in our basements and the typical urban home where we can put all of the junk that people have given us over the years if i'm dutch and i'm living in amsterdam there's a premium space and therefore i have to factor in that space to buy shopping seasons but it may mean also that the way i recognize somebody else is . maybe not just the giving of things but the giving of experiences we have to take a short break now but when we come back as the power shifts from the merchants to consumers how is it going well both consumer habits that's coming up in a few moments on the over part of.
when the crisis leaves us traces everywhere. empty close rooms become the norm. children pay for the mistakes of adults. by working in a tobacco field or in a cafe. they are the ones who come back home blasts. so kids games are just in their memories. right from the scene. first street. and i think the church. on a reformist twitter. and instagram. could be an. on off.
but. you did you know the price is the only industry specifically mentioned in the constitution and. that's because a free and open process is critical to our democracy back office. in fact the single biggest threat facing our nation today is the corporate takeover of our government and across silicon we've been a high jinks trying handful of transnational corporations that will profit by destroying what our founding fathers once it's all just my job market and on this show we reveal the big picture of what's actually going on in the world we go beyond identifying the problem. rational debate and a real discussion critical issues facing. you know ready to join the movement then welcome the big.
welcome back to all of the parts of a disgusting global shopping habits underhill mr underhill before the break we were talking about the hype of winter shopping and i think it's part of a much larger phenomenon of consumer as you know this drive to buy more goods and services in ever increasing numbers and i think when you think about consumers really usually think about americans you mention because this be cars but if you look at the recent consumer studies it says that americans and europeans are actually pretty disciplined shoppers things they say and it is other parts of the world asia middle is the. come get enough shopping we passed over a very magic moment in the mid one nine hundred ninety s. . where previous to that the. global
wealth came in the form of old money but starting in the mid one nine hundred ninety s. and russia is a very good example of that the overwhelming majority of global wealth now is is in the hands of people who have earned it in the course of their own lifetime and the scale of the money that they have earned. gives them the ability to consume at a productive just rate and that has. both created opportunity and challenge particularly for the luxury luxury goods merchant who is selling to an audience that often doesn't know exactly what it is there are but we can buy houses if we have new money just as we saw the russian. billionaire buy a seventy five million dollar apartment in new york city we have people who can buy
yachts here. but how do we sell them the more subtle things whether it's an expensive watch whether it's understanding the difference between a suit that costs. two thousand euros and a suit that costs ten thousand euros. now you've been talking about. people for going after luxury items but i think this is a trend that's far broader it's not just you know the after class it's the middle class as well and according to the most recent nelson's global study i think it's chinese and indians who are there were more impulsive and brown driven shall for us and your company and of ourselves. has a. mentality. i wonder if you're actually trying to spread the same culture of runaway consumerism buying more than you need. stop stop stop stop
right there we teach our children about hygiene we teach our children about the colleges we also need to teach our children about responsible sumption i run a research and salting from that works with merchants and marketers all over the world what what we are focused on is them putting their best foot forward because in the twenty first century it is no longer a polite war where l'oreal is competing with estée lauder it is a bar fight where everybody is competing with everyone else absolutely but i think part of your job also involves using sound says and sometimes maybe advising merchants on how manipulative senses of that consumers to encourage more and more sales. obviously many people in western countries the now more sophisticated but many of those consumers are calming to the fore in their developing emerging
markets and also experience and i wonder whether these overseas markets will have to go through the same cycle of. excessive consumption that some of the western countries have to go through well let's look at it in a broader. text if i look at an eight year old girl. in the. show and i look at an eight year old girl in the suburbs of moscow and i look at an eight year old girl in the suburbs of detroit all of them have the same. caviare of brains that they have been exposed to television they've been exposed to media they've been exposed to. magazines and all of them have an interest because the marketing engines. of media are focused on the younger and younger and sooner you and i have reached a point in our lives where we know that there are very few products that our
transfer may tional but our marketing engines are focused on a younger and younger consumer who is vulnerable to that message in terms of something merging market. consumers are stepping out from a history of depth. and they are coming into it with a with an appetite for newness and appetite for sumption that is product of their of their pasts and we certainly hope that they learn to become better and more frugal and more focused simmers simply because the world cannot afford to consume in the same way that we as westerners have done over the past fifty years we can't afford it and yet if you look at the studies again it seems that even though as you said the world cannot afford to
sustain such consumption many people especially in those developing markets are in danger china. often vying more things than these and i think that's the sundays in asia is around forty of percent of people on their feet and bases by more than they need their impulse shoppers this is much higher than in the west and yet you don't have to recognize that this is is the name driven by environmental psychologists and let's just look at it from a couple of different ways here when i visit my office in shanghai. i'm guessing that a third of my him please still live at home. they live with their with their families which means. is that everything that i am paying them is discretionary income if i visit my offices in new york nobody who works in my office at that same age is living at home meaning that they have to pay rent they
have to pay for their own maintenance one of the issues of modern consumption is that it is often driven by housing. and that if you go to india and china where living unit is very different than it is in north america part of what it does is put discretionary expand the church in the hands of a younger time sooner who doesn't have to pay for your costs that same customer in the west would have to spend. income is also lower the price of the brands that you may be after is comparable to that one . oh and this is part of what is a very interesting challenge for a chinese merchant or a bro zillion merchant is knowing that that middle class customer is questioning
the fact why does this prada bag cost one price in song. and cost a very different price in my the and we are moving to a global global market and that has implications for us everywhere they don't move in here in moscow it does you're saying that there is almost a porch an estate drive on the part of. business and some financial institutions to have two eyes on this vastness consumer appetite in emerging markets even knowing that you know this may not be sustainable in the long run just using these. trying to get out of. one of my last columns written for goldman sachs talk to us about what the potential. impact is if we have a global financial belt. we are seeing it in two zones across the world first of all china if the real estate bubble bursts
we have a chinese population with a long history of being savers. and it will not take much to have that chinese wallet shut well maybe they will become more like americans for i know now increasingly rely on shopping least sixty percent according to nelson and they also point out that eighty eight percent of americans are very good at collecting in using their discount coupons so it seems that americans after all actually have the art of shopping and shopping in their rationale well let's let's recognize something speaking as an. american who researchers you know shopping. for american merchants we are facing the fact that in the enormous percentage of americans face the prospect of being downwardly mobile meaning that there are
many. realize that they will not live the same way that their parents did. and that they may have similar appetites and have made similar longings for goods but are simply not going to be able to afford them this is one of the challenges of our mature western. culture there are many americans who will not live better than their parents have and that's something that hasn't happened ever and that it's part of that contrast between china and india and russia where there are so many of your children who. that they are going to live a better life than their parents did. it has to be recognized to be living standards in both russia china and india are still much lower than the living
standards in the united states they're just trying to reach the bar that you have long ago now we've been discussing the spread of these small culture around the world the spread of consumer culture and i know that in the united states the construction of morals is actually declining very steeply and more and more consumers they're shifting towards only line retailers to buy whatever they need and i think it will be your own line environment you have more control over what you how much time you need to consider any particular purchase how is it going to change the environmental psychology because part of your job began to use the senses of consumers to encourage sales but in the online environment it is the concern ultimate control of the of the environment of the
shopping environment let's take a step back and look at. culture. in merging markets first is because shopping mall security. and this is something that in the u.s. is no longer an issue. the shopping mall offers a controlled in environment. it is one in which i'm not only going to shop but i'm also going to look and be seen by other people in the u.s. retail trends follow housing housing trends so we are watching several things happen first is the repopulation of some of our cities and as people come back into a city they are shopping a city. second is is that we are seeing
a much more concerted effort at channel which which means that i am not separating the bricks and mortar world from the online world i am using online as a way of educating myself before i go in to look at product in the. right and the separate silos that have. done this is catalogue this is bricks and mortar and this is all mine are just not existing handing them doesn't mean that the ability for the potential for profit markov's. decreasing for all those brick and mortar shells part of what this means is a couple of things first is using our supply our supply chain better to be able to differentiate products so i'm not seeing the same product in stores i'm seeing online second is. that many products may be
a comedy product but all of the things that i use with it are things where i build my margin so that if i if i have a smart apple phone. that. maybe a d. product but in that case that i put that phone on or the cords and wires that i use to be able to make sure that it's charged in every place that is the place where i earn my margin so part of what it spends is a challenge for us to be more creative and a challenge for us to manage both our inventory and the expectations of our customers better doesn't mean they're better future for the consumer or for the who do you think will emerge as the ultimate winner. if we thought about the twentieth century marketers led somebody could create trends in london or paris or new
york. in the twenty first century is a very important that we are good followers because often our shopping and come some and fashion trends come up the street and therefore it's very important for us to stand up and pay attention and our health thank you very much for your time and please join us again same place same time here in the world the part of. the problem or you. can watch.
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