A surfeit of channels for selling, buying, or getting information on products has led consumers to consume in an entirely different way. They no longer research the products or evaluate alternatives before making a purchase. Instead, they engage in “ditto” consumption, purchasing items a specific proxy commends or decides to buy. Such proxies may be people, contents, or distribution channels.
Ditto consumption differs from mindlessly adhering to the suggestions made by celebrities or influencers. Although such behavior was typical in the past, people nowadays follow the advice of people whose values align with theirs. Consumption, therefore, is not a passive but an active act, making independent choices based on one’s beliefs.
The first type of proxy a ditto consumer follows is a person. The person typically selects the products meticulously and gives meaning to them. Ditto consumers then make purchase decisions after analyzing whether the person’s lifestyle and beliefs resonate with their own. Meanwhile, the people who may qualify as proxies are diverse. They encompass influencers, celebrities, experts, internal employees, and ordinary people.
The second type of proxy a ditto consumer follows is visual content, such as comics, dramas, or movies. Such visual content becomes the basis of most decisions, from deciding what to wear to where to travel. For instance, when picking out clothing, a ditto consumer would emulate the style of their favorite webtoon protagonist. When choosing travel destinations, the ditto consumer would show partiality to venues that have appeared in dramas or movies.
The final proxy a ditto consumer follows is a distribution channel, whether online or offline. In-person visits to offline stores, however, are less prevalent nowadays as a far greater number of ditto consumers shop online. Internet shopping malls that specialize in a distinct category are particularly sought-after. Such shopping malls have been dubbed “vertical commerce” for the way they build up their specialization in a specific category.
Serena Park Staff Reporter junior/1707356236/1613367844
1. How has the abundance of channels for buying, selling, and obtaining product information changed consumer behavior?
2. What is "ditto" consumption, and how does it differ from traditional consumer behavior?
3. What are the three types of proxies mentioned in the passage that ditto consumers follow?
4. Who are the diverse people that may qualify as proxies according to the passage?
1. In your opinion, is ditto consumption a positive or negative trend in consumer behavior? Why?
2. How has the shift towards ditto consumption impacted traditional marketing strategies?
3. How do you think the influence of different types of proxies (people, visual content, distribution channels) varies among consumers?
4. How might the alignment of values with a proxy influence a ditto consumer's choices and preferences?