Consumers! Are they really stupid?

We all take for granted that we can run or walk up and down stairs or play sports. It actually all started when we were one year old and we took our first steps. We cannot really remember such an event and we are just keen to move on to new experiences.

Faster computers and new software are teaching us simpler (new) tasks while, really, taking away decision making and basic brain activities. In marketing, CRM has been created and new software for it, while the motor industry cannot work without DMS software. The fact is that, most people, when they search for a document, don’t know why they type *.doc. They probably don’t know what DOS is or what wildcards are – they are just running, forgetting that, once, they learned to walk.

This is the modern consumer, the one that will type *.doc without knowing why and that will use CRM and/or DMS software only because he/she has been told so when the “same basics” can be found still with older and simpler software/solutions (we have just not been taught on how to use them properly in the first place).

The consumer reads magazines, follows television and bill advertising and is up to date with all the latest products/models.

The object is – stop running and remember how to walk.

There is little brain engagement by the consumer when purchasing a watch and due to forgotten primitive skills many wouldn’t even know how to search and research on the Internet.

I have been told by many that watches are in the fashion industry and price paid and value perceived by the consumer are very much determined by their desire to obtain that product.

Why should anyone buy a £5,080 Breitling Navitimer when they can have the same (better, actually) watch, if they pay £1,350 for the CX Swiss Military Hurricane?

I suppose, it can come down, also, to simple stupidity.

To distinguish the clever ones from the stupid we could mention motorway service stations. A clever buyer will never buy a heavily discounted watch from a stranger at the car park of a motorway service station, would you? Many actually do and, in fact, in the late 90s, a brand became extremely successful. So much so that, for a few years, it was mentioned and sold all over UK. That was until the BBC made a program showing £499 retail on a particular model/brand, discounted by most vendors to around £99/£125, selling at service stations from £35+ when the actual cost of the watch was £7.

But, because I am clever, I will never buy a watch in a car park from a stranger.

Hence, because I am clever, dazzled by advertising, I will rely on shops or the Internet to purchase my next watch.

Clothes belong to the fashion industry but, most of us, before spending £800 on a suit or £500 on a coat, will do some shopping around.

Why do most buyers not question the price tag on a watch?

As well as stupidity we are also dealing with a lot of ignorance. As we forget how we have learned to walk we also have forgotten that old fashion craftsmanship in the watch industry is very much a thing of the past. We forget that the BBC has told us that the watch advertised for £499 was actually made for £7.

The £700 watch sold today by some “famous” brands, does not cost £7 to make, you are right, it costs £45. Perhaps, compared to the one mentioned above for £499, this £700 watch sounds like a bargain. It is not coincidental that, inclusive on the costs of the selling price, someone like Tiger Woods has been paid $20 million to endorse a brand or that the next 2012 London Olympics have received a very large sum of money to endorse and show to the world their “chosen” watch brand.

I have nothing against fashion, I buy expensive after shaves, shirts and ties, but, very rarely they are above £100. I would, however, indeed question a shirt or tie if the price tag was £700+ (and so would most of the consumers) – but never is the same done if we are talking about a watch.

The watch industry, especially in recent years, has been very clever at aiming at the stupidity and ignorance of their customers. The watch industry has been able to come up with some striking names and materials for their models, avoiding telling the customers the truth behind some of their operations. It has been so clever at imposing a fashion and status statement that the consumer sees nothing wrong in spending a few thousand pounds on a watch based mainly on the brand name and a few terms and statements. In reality, these terms and statements don’t mean much towards the quality and, finally, the price of the product.


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