December 17, 2010

Data point: Consumers looking to Outsource Self-Control

Posted by: in North America

Bad habits_Outsourcing Self-ControlIn a survey JWT conducted for our “10 Trends for 2011” report, nearly 7 in 10 respondents agreed that “It’s really difficult to break a bad habit on your own—people need help.” Increasingly, consumers will be looking to third parties to help them exercise self-discipline. With consumers beset by more temptations than ever—whether it’s opportunities to spend, to overeat/drink, to get digitally distracted (by social networks, texts or online games), etc.—Outsourcing Self-Control will be a trend for the near future.

Brands are increasingly accompanying consumers beyond the point of purchase, and more customers are coming to expect tools and services to come with a good or product. Now brands have the opportunity to go a step further by not only educating consumers but also playing the role of partner, coach or even cop. Almost half of the respondents to our survey said they wish there were more products, tools or services to help them with their bad habits or behaviors.

One of the key categories where we’ll see the trend manifesting is personal finance. MasterCard’s inControl card, for example, protects card holders from fraud and even from themselves: Once a set budget has been met, further purchases are rejected. Cardholders with a habit they want to curb, like dining out, can adjust their settings to limit these expenses. What’s next? A few days ago we came across MIT Media Lab’s Proverbial Wallets—the Mother Bear prototype becomes harder to open as the owner’s bank balance gets lower.

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