The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

Transumers | implications and opportunities for Banks

During the LIFT conference sessions on “Cities of the the Future” sessions, these trends came up repeatedly – consumers as entrepreneurs (think eBay sellers) and desire to not own everything (Transumers is a new term to me but we can go with that). Thanks for Springwise for this excellent link.

New Zealand-based Hire Things, which is currently in public beta, ……

Think of it as eBay for renting goods. The company is an enterprising mash-up of two major trends: minipreneurs (consumers turning into entrepreneurs) and transumers (consumers becoming less interested in owning).

Source: Springwise: new business ideas for entrepreneurial minds.

Transumers are of particular interest for financial services, and would not be captured in typical segment models. At the core is a desire for experiences and less so for goods.

TRANSUMERS are consumers driven by experiences instead of the ‘fixed’, by entertainment, by discovery, by fighting boredom, who increasingly live a transient lifestyle, freeing themselves from the hassles of permanent ownership and possessions. The fixed is replaced by an obsession with the here and now, an ever-shorter satisfaction span, and a lust to collect as many experiences and stories as possible.* Hey, the past is, well, over, and the future is uncertain, so all that remains is the present, living for the ‘now’.

Transumers look for surprises.

We spoke before of the Experience Economy, but perhaps a better name for it would be the Surprise Economy: not only do TRANSUMERS want freedom, they also want to be surprised, moving from one ephemeral experience to another, constantly trading in the fading for the blossoming.

Transumers and the Eco-system:

There are now more than 2,000 carshare organizations and initiatives in 600 cities worldwide. From Zipcar and Streetcar to Greenwheels and Car City Club. Chicago-based I-GO Car Sharing deserves special mention, as their entire fleet consists of hybrid vehicles.

The eco-leasing lifestyle doesn’t stop at car sharing: check out the following eco-TRANSUMER services, that also tie in with the aforementioned auction culture:

  • UK-based Cahooting is a free service for people who wish to find or advertise items for rent.
  • Freecycle is a grassroots and entirely non-profit movement of people who give (and get) stuff for free in their own towns. The number of Freecycle communities around the world currently stands at more than 3,500, with more than 2.7 million Freecycle members.
  • Bankwatch Note: – I would include likes of Vancity changeeverything.ca, Wells guidedbyhistory, and yourpointofview.com here as early financial services examples.

Context, next and opportunities:

The otherwise excellent article kind of dies off at the online point.

Where new content can be sampled by the gigabytes, where identities can change in a heartbeat, where casual encounters are arranged for in mere minutes (for example, (link removed – adult site) has over 20 million members looking for transient connections). To truly cut ties with the fixed, head for virtual worlds. Make sure you check out our YOUNIVERSAL BRANDING briefing to find out how to cater to online TRANSUMERS, or ask the guides at Synthravels, the world’s first travel agency for virtual worlds, to give you a tour!

Other and obvious examples would be SecondLife, and Habbo.

Relevance to Bankwatch:

For this group:

  • Branches are irrelevant
  • internet experience integrated with mobile phone is essential
  • self service must be seamless, and be available wherever the transumer is … the service availability must follow them around
  • free ATM for an all inclusive banking package would be essential
  • banking and credit card integration is essential
  • by definition this group have disposable income, and are attuned to fees (rental) provided the experiential value and “coolness’ factor exists. Note – latter is their definition, not yours
  • If you can grab their attention, this group will be the best customer advocates known to Banks – its all about the experience

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Written by Colin Henderson

May 8, 2007 at 10:26

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