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Video: Fly In - The Price Has Risen! - Society
The driving force behind our behavior is needs. For the sake of their satisfaction, we work hard and earn money. Many centuries ago, everything was simpler: if you got hungry, you went into the forest, picked up some mushrooms and berries, shot the game, fried it on the fire and ate it. Here is the nutritional need and satisfied! And today we go on a "hunt" to the store.
Modern man lives in a consumer society and satisfies his needs within the framework of market relations. And if something is wrong with the market? For example, due to the imposed sanctions, buyers were left without their usual products. If our needs are not met, frustration arises. It is a negative state that manifests itself in the form of frustration, anxiety, anger, and even despair. This is a type of psychological stress, and if this condition continues for a long time, it can lead to disorganization of human behavior.
Imagine: you come to a store to buy, say, your favorite pecorino romano, but he is not there! You are covered with irritation, and this is quite logical. And how does our consumer behavior change if this happens, for example, for a whole year?
Behavior is lame
It is not easy for specialists in the psychology of consumer behavior in Russia. We have a very turbulent history! We will not recall the Tatar-Mongol yoke, but even in the last 25-30 years there have been many economic upheavals. The total deficit on the eve of the collapse of the USSR, the denomination of the ruble, the global financial crises of 1998 and 2008, a radical change in the labor market, a sharp stratification of the population in terms of income, etc. Now, there are also sanctions with counter-sanctions added.
Low-income families and the elderly save mainly on food, clothing and other basic goods. Those with middle and high incomes save the most on travel abroad, on entertainment, and also postpone major purchases like a new car.
But this, as they say, is "the average temperature in the hospital." Strategies for responding to economic stress are individual. But there are only two basic lines of behavior: "overconsumption" and "consumption reduction".
"Saving does not consist in saving, but in selection." Edmund Burke
Overconsumption is a paradoxical reaction: the less available a product, the more desirable it becomes. People want to "overtake" the crisis, strive to buy and stock as many potentially scarce goods as possible.
In the midst of the crisis, they do not even try to find a replacement for the desired acquisition, but are drawn into all sorts of "exchange schemes". As in the days of the USSR, Mikhail Zhvanetsky aptly noted: “You come to me, through the warehouse manager, through the store manager, through the commodity specialist, through the back porch, I got a deficit! Listen, no one has - I have! You tried it - you lost your speech! The taste is specific! Do you respect me. I respect you. You and I are respected people."
The most irrational behavioral strategy is the so-called conspicuous consumption. This is when scarce goods are bought solely in order to prove to others that “everything is in chocolate”. In any case, this is a kind of panic that pushes a person to buy and store unnecessary things. The ease with which a person collects loans is also dangerous. Thanks to borrowed funds, it becomes possible to ignore difficulties, as it were, and to maintain your level of requests at the same level. But sooner or later, the debts will have to be paid back, and this can greatly undermine the welfare of the spender!
At first glance, reducing consumption is a much smarter strategy for dealing with economic difficulties. You need to spend less; find a cheaper replacement for expensive goods; refuse to buy non-essential goods; be more attentive to all kinds of sales.
But this is only at first glance! Research shows that some of the habits associated with reducing consumption disappear (as soon as the economic fever wears off) and some do not. For example, there remains an increased sensitivity to various stocks and a commitment to more affordable goods instead of too expensive or scarce.
In June 2015, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the largest international consulting firm, conducted a study entitled “The Economic Downturn in Russia: A 360 ° View. What needs to be changed today to succeed tomorrow. " Much of the work was devoted to how the consumer behavior of Russians has changed. Here are some indicative figures:
- 83% of the respondents believe that the country is going through an economic crisis;
- 91% say their purchasing power has dropped significantly over the past year;
- on average 55% of those surveyed said they have become more economical.
Reducing consumption leads to a redistribution of the market, when inexpensive brands occupy a niche of old ones. In our country, this is happening under the slogan "Buy Russian!" There is nothing wrong with this, but new companies, having crowded out competitors, usually cease to be cheap. It turns out that in practice it is not always possible to save money.
What consumer behavior is optimal in a crisis, sanctions and other economic bad weather? Modesty in queries is fine, but not enough. It can develop a habit to live meagerly, to be content with a minimum. And people who have resigned themselves to poverty are bad fighters in a competitive war on the labor market.
In addition to cutting costs, it is important to focus on working harder and, consequently, earning more. Resisting the circumstances is the optimal response to any stress. Remember the parable about two frogs caught in a jug of milk? One frog gave up and drowned. The second began to fight and kick until she turned the milk into butter. Then I got out safely.
Unfortunately, only about 20% of Russians decide not only to cut spending, but also to try to increase their income at the same time. Moreover, such moods are characteristic mainly of young people from 18 to 30 years old, and then this indicator sharply decreases.
The classic way to cope with any economic hardship is to have a financial cushion. Simply put, make savings and never stop replenishing them, despite difficult times. It is important to learn not only to "eat up" the available funds, but also to invest them in future large purchases. Unfortunately, this is not fun with us either: less than a third of Russians have at least some kind of savings. But 55% have no reserves at all.
Waiting for the "good dad"
At the beginning of the article, the question was raised about how our consumer behavior changes under the influence of long-term economic stress. If we talk about reasonable, constructive and effective changes, then the answer will be sad - not for the majority of the population. It seems that citizens simply froze in anticipation of changes for the better.
According to sociologists, the paternalistic economic consciousness, which was formed during the Soviet era, is to blame for everything. We are talking about behavioral stereotypes, according to which the material opportunities and personal responsibility of citizens were limited to providing themselves with clothing and food, and medical services, education and housing were free.
We manage our finances only at the level of FMCG, consumer goods. “Big purchases” (purchasing housing, financing the education of children and grandchildren, retirement savings, buying good health insurance) are “higher mathematics” for most compatriots. At the same time, 60% of the population still hope that it is the state that should improve their lives.
As final recommendations:
1. Get rid of the paternalistic attitude
One must rely not on the state, but exclusively on oneself. How can this be achieved? The “ideal consumer” in the current situation is a person who knows how to analyze his requests and translate them into a clear language of numbers. To begin with, you need to get out of the habit of living by “buying kefir” (that is, meeting immediate needs). You need to learn to set long-term goals. All plans must be written down, it is better to use special programs for this.
Determine how much money you need to earn per month to achieve your goals. Compare this figure with your real income. The result often looks “terrible”; it turns out, for example, that to achieve the cherished goal, you need to get twice as much. In such a situation, there is no need to despair. There are several options for changing consumer behavior: a) to clarify your plans (for example, to postpone it for a more distant period); b) reduce costs; c) find new sources of funding.
Strictly speaking, only the second point applies to changes in consumer behavior. You can significantly reduce costs if you master the simplest household saving methods. Search, try, come up with your own ways to “live within your means” - this is a creative task, the solution of which (oddly enough) can be a very exciting process.
2. It will not be possible to correct consumer habits if you do not change your attitude towards money
Saving ("reducing consumption") is, of course, good, but you need to act actively. The rational consumer knows how to count money. To begin with, it is enough to form a habit of recording all your expenses and income. Such family bookkeeping will help control costs and make the achievement of goals a visual process.
We must declare war on debt. A loan is "someone else's money", they will have to be returned with interest, and this only increases your expenses.
3. Most of our needs are flexible
This means that they can be satisfied variably. If you can't buy pecorino romano, then any other hard cheese can replace it. Well, grumble a little, and then you will get used to it - the main thing here is not to artificially dramatize the situation, not to drive yourself into stress! Substitute objects reduce severe frustration. And mild frustration, according to psychologists, is very useful - it strengthens willpower.
Another interesting fact: for a number of reasons, the current economic downturn has least affected the population of megacities, as well as residents of small towns (with a population of less than 100 thousand people). Everything is clear here: in large cities the level of income is higher, and in small cities it is easier to save money. It would seem that the solution is simple - it is easier to survive the crisis if you just move to a very large or, conversely, to a small city! There is even a special term for this behavior - "internal labor mobility." In Russia, it is one of the lowest in the world and very strange, exclusively from the periphery to the center. Everyone strives to "come in large numbers" to Moscow, but only a few migrate from million-plus cities to the provinces.