Kotaku.com shared a New Yorker post about how video games are killing toys because video games are more entertaining. Matel’s and Hasbro’s troubles are the “bleeding edge” of a larger trend – consumers abandoning physical goods in favor of virtual ones.
GetElastic.com estimates 27% of gift buyers last holiday season purchased virtual goods as gifts. Conversion of some physical goods into virtual ones are obvious and happening now such:
Virtual goods have advantages that let loose the dogs of war on expensive physical goods. Physical goods can be 1.5 to 3x more expensive than their virtual siblings when costs such as “curation”, maintenance and disposal are factored in.
Shipping is never “free”. I pay for Amazon prime and $.60 may seem high, but want to make the “shipping is never free” point. An ordered book is going to be packed and gasoline burned so shipping is never free.
“Curation” is the cost of moving physical things. I pegged curation and maintenance costs at 15% and that too may seem high, but not if you moved as I did six months ago. Books have to be boxed and moved and those are the heaviest boxes too.
Books also have to be dusted and cleaned. Every minute spent “maintaining” the physical goods in our lives should go into our “cost of ownership” but those costs rarely bubble up at the point of purchase. We want a book so we buy it. Finally physical goods require disposal.
Like shipping disposal is never free. Even if you can do what I can’t and throw a book in the trash costs are incurred. Taxes are paid to haul your trash or landfill fees are paid to dump your junk.
Time = Love
Where we spend our time is what we love. Not hard to see where the next generation spends their time – on their PHONES. Our phones are more than what they were.
Phones curate our lives and our lives are increasingly digital and virtual and less physical and costly. The study of HOW technology is changing our consumption hasn’t been written, but it doesn’t take a great leap of imagination to recognize a few things:
- Experience is more important when physical good consumption declines.
- Quality becomes paramount as we buy fewer but better STUFF.
- Community and connection become part of everything we purchase.
- When choice is infinite we buy from those we love and want to support with “after sale” advocacy and whose tribe we want to join.
What do you think? Are you watching your purchasing patterns change? Share your experience in comments and we will curate into the post.