The trend toward minimalism in the US has been years in the making, but it has broken into the mainstream over the past few years.
It's not easy to quantify if consumers are spending more on minimalist lifestyles or just becoming more discerning about the things they do spend money on. The rise of private labels and consumers caring less about specific brands of household goods, food and clothing speaks to a shift in values.
Consumers have been fueled by Marie Kondo's best-selling "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up," fascinated by tiny houses (at least nine TV shows about tiny houses have debuted since 2014) and enthralled with paring down their possessions, whether to rid themselves of mental clutter or living simply enough to be free of a 9-to-5 existence.
It's not a coincidence that minimalism has been embraced during a time of economic uncertainty, especially for younger consumers saddled with student loan debt and getting by in the gig economy.
CivicScience polled US adults in August 2018 and found that minimalism isn't necessarily commonplace but more of an aspirational lifestyle. Fully 65% of respondents had no desire to become a minimalist. Only 10% consider themselves minimalists, while 11% want to be one and 14% are actively working toward this goal.
Those who aspire to be a minimalist did share some traits in common. Women; those concerned about the environment, the economy and jobs; and Gen Xers (though millennials are slightly more likely to already be a minimalist) had more interest in becoming a minimalist one day.
How do brands and retailers market to these consumers who've consciously decided to consume less?